A former U.S. Air Force special operations pilot and a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Nolan Peterson is a conflict journalist and travel writer whose adventures have taken him to all seven continents.
He is the author of, “Why Soldiers Miss War,” as well as two fiction collections.
As the foreign correspondent for The Daily Signal, he lives in Kyiv, Ukraine, with his wife Lilya. Peterson has lived in Ukraine full time since the war began in the summer of 2014.
As a war correspondent, Peterson has reported extensively from the front lines in eastern Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Iraq. In the summer of 2015 he was the first American journalist to embed with Ukraine’s regular army in combat.
In October 2015 he retraced the path of Tibetan refugees on a solo hike across the Himalayas from Nepal to China. He also spent several months on assignment in the Himalayas reporting on Tibetan freedom fighters.
A Florida native, Peterson graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in French. He attended graduate school at the Sorbonne in Paris, France from 2004 from 2006, where he studied politics and French literature. After leaving the Air Force in 2011, Peterson completed a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where he was a McCormick Foundation fellow.
Peterson’s unique life experiences are the bedrock of his unique writing and journalism style. In addition to his time in the military and work as a journalist, he has run a marathon across a glacier in Antarctica, swum across the Hellespont from Europe to Asia, climbed mountains in the Himalayas, and completed Ironman triathlons. He travelled to all seven continents before age 30.
The Daily Signal—Foreign correspondent. 2015-present, currently on assignment in Ukraine.
- Currently based in Ukraine, covering the conflict in the Donbas from the front lines (in the trenches about once a month) and Russian aggression throughout Eastern Europe, as well as related U.S. military exercises and operations.
- Additional assignments in Iraq, Kuwait, Nepal, India, France, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
First U.S. journalist to embed with the Ukrainian regular Army, 2015.
- Hiked solo across the Himalayas from Nepal to Chinese border to retrace the route of Tibetan refugees as part of a two-month-long project to report on Tibetan freedom fighter veterans of a covert CIA operation against China in occupied Tibet during the Cold War.
- Work in Ukraine, Iraq and the Himalayas republished by Newsweek, CNN, the National Interest, the Epoch Times, the Kyiv Post, Novoe Vremya, and Real Clear Defense.
- Granted exclusive access to the United Kingdom’s unmanned aerial vehicle program at an undisclosed location in the Persian Gulf region in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, 2016.
- Embedded with U.S. Special Operations Forces in Iraq, 2015.
- Embedded with Kurdish Peshmerga forces in combat outside of Mosul and in Sinjar, Iraq, 2016.
- The Daily Signal’s first foreign correspondent.
Blue Force Tracker—War correspondent, Ukraine 2014
- Embedded with Ukrainian military units and independently reported from the war’s front lines.
Blue Force Tracker—Cofounder and Editor
- Cofounded and managed a multimedia news site comprising journalists who were all U.S. military veterans.
- Designed and managed a website and the mobile application, raised venture capital, developed a business plan, secured advertising and recruited and trained a team of more than 20 military veterans as journalists.
- Lead writer contributing op-eds and news articles.
United Press International—War Correspondent, Afghanistan, 2013.
- Embedded with frontline U.S. and Afghan military units and went on combat patrols to write a series of stories on the war, Taliban operations and the NATO drawdown.
Sarasota Observer, County News Editor. 2013-2014.
- Enterprised five multimedia stories a week covering education, politics, and crime.
Medill National Security Journalism Initiative Digital Fellow. 2014.
- Managed the program’s website, edited student stories, promoted content through social media and produced enterprising content for professional military journalists.
- Covered a wide range of topics, including North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, and a U.S. Army veteran fighting in the Syrian Civil War.
- Published by: Newsweek, Runner’s World, Newsmax, The Chicago Journal, The Austin Weekly News, The Times of Northwest Indiana, The Active Times, Checkpoints Magazine, Fox News, The Daily Caller, and the Medill National Security Initiative.
- Creative nonfiction writing has also been featured in the literary journal, “War, Literature & the Arts.”
National Strategy Forum—Research Assistant, 2011-2012. Chicago, IL.
- Staff writer and researcher covering international strategy and national security issues.
Guest lecturer at Northwestern University and Embry-Riddle University.
- Lectured on military culture and conflict reporting to undergraduate journalism students.
- Authored a how-to guide for military journalists for the Medill National Security Initiative.
Guest Speaker, Lviv Media Forum, 2015, 2017
- Speaker on conflict journalism for the largest media forum in Eastern Europe.
Lecturer and Founder, English Language Courses for Ukrainian Journalists. Kyiv, 2016.
- Organized and taught a series of courses at the America House in Kyiv, focusing on English language for Ukrainian media professionals.
Captain and Pilot—Air Force Special Operations Command 2008-2011
- 220 hours combat flight time as a U-28A mission pilot
- Air Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster for combat actions during Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan 2009-2010).
- Air Force Commendation Medal for actions in Afghanistan and Iraq (2008-2011).
- NATO Joint Service Achievement Medal for actions in Iraq (2010).
- Deputy director joint special operations aviation operations in the Arabian Peninsula, Balad Air Base, Iraq (2010).
- Exchange officer, U.S. Embassy Paris, France (2004-2006).
- Writing, editing, photography, fluent in French, website management, public speaking, national security and defense analysis, aviation analysis, international affairs.
Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism: Chicago, IL (2012)
- Master of science in journalism.
- McCormick Foundation Fellow.
United States Air Force Academy: Colorado Springs, CO (2000-2004)
- Bachelor of science; major in political science, minor in French.
- Graduated with academic distinction, top 5 percent of the class of 2004.
- No. 1 political science major’s GPA, class of 2004.
- Exchange tour at the French Air Force Academy at Salon de Provence, France.
- General Gerhart Fellowship for two years of graduate study in Paris, France.
Middlebury College: Middlebury VT/Paris, France (2004-2006)
- Master of Arts; French civilization, culture and society.
- Attended full-time studies in Paris, France, at La Sorbonne University.
La Sorbonne: Paris, France (2004-2005).
- Diploma of French language and civilization.
- Achieved the highest level of French language proficiency awarded to non-native speakers.
- Ran a full marathon across a glacier in Antarctica to support the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (2010).
- Swam across the Hellespont, from Europe to Asia, in 2012.
- Ironman triathlete.
- Summited Island Peak (20,305’), Nepal, 2012.
- Set foot on all seven continents before age 30.