Robert Jordan was born James Oliver Rigney Jr. on October 17, 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina. He received a B.S. in physics from The Citadel in 1974. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam with the U.S. Army and won The Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star and two Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry. From 1974 to 1978, he worked for the U.S. Civil Service as a nuclear engineer. During the 1980s, he began writing several novels for the Conan the Barbarian series that was created in the 1930s by Robert E. Howard. He also wrote under many pseudonyms, which include the historical novels The Fallon Blood (1980), The Fallon Pride (1981) and The Fallon Legacy (1982) as Reagan ONeal; and the western Cheyenne Riders (1982) as Jackson OReilly. He wrote articles for periodicals for the Library Journal, Fantasy Review and Science Fiction Review as Chang Lung. He was the author of the Wheel of Time series and The Towers of Midnight. He died on September 16, 2007 following a battle with cardiac amyloidosis. Jordan was cremated and his ashes buried in the churchyard of St. James Church in Goose Creek, outside Charleston.