An Airman's Story: Lieutenant Colonel Betty Jane Williams

A Soldier's Story: Sergeant James Oliver Rigney Jr


Sergeant James Oliver Rigney Jr was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on October 17, 1948. After his high school graduation, he attended Clemson University and played collegiate football. Sergeant Rigney left college after one year to enlist in the US Army.

Training as a gunner, Sergeant James Oliver Rigney Jr. deployed twice to Vietnam with the 68th Assault Helicopter Squadron.  

He returned to the US in 1970 and enrolled at The Citadel, where he studied physics. Sergeant James Oliver Rigney Jr. graduated in 1974 and began working for the US Navy at the Charleston Naval Shipyard. 

In 1977, Sergeant James Oliver Rigney fell from a submarine in drydock, severely injuring his leg and requiring the reconstruction of his knee. His recovery process was long and was complicated by blood clots. Sergeant Rigney decided during his convalescence to become a writer.


He began writing historical works under Reagan O'Neal before writing Western novels as Jackson O'Reilly. Sergeant James Oliver Rigney Jr wrote theater and dance criticisms as Chang Lung.

Sergeant Rigney was best known as writer Robert Jordan, writing several Conan the Barbarian episodes, and is most known for his 14-book Wheel of Time saga, first published in 1990.

In 2006, Sergeant James Oliver Rigney Jr was diagnosed with Amyloidosis and died on September 16, 2007. He rests at the St James Church Cemetery in Goose Creek, South Carolina.


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a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at www.takethebackroads.com, you can also read her book reviews at www.riteoffancy.com and US military biographies at www.everydaypatriot.com

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