Born and raised in Chicago, Steve Schofield majored in physical education and wrestled on scholarship at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois. On the basis of his college study in zoology, he was assigned to train as a medic when he joined U.S. Special Forces in 1966. A Purple Heart recipient, Scofield served in the 1st Special Forces Group in Okinawa, then in Vietnam with the Studies and Observations Group (SOG). In 1968, as a sergeant with SOG, Schofield was one of 14 US Special Forces personnel transported 13 miles into Laos with a company of ethnic Chinese and Cambodian soldiers. Two Special Forces members and several Chinese and Cambodians were killed; dozens were wounded.
In 1969, Schofield was recruited by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to work in Northern Laos as a public health advisor, supplying village dispensaries and supporting local medics and field nurses. He also served a top secret role training and supplying Hmong military medics and performing search and rescue operations for downed air crews. Schofield participated in the March 1970 evacuation of the USAID base located in SamThong, Laos, and was among the last 26 Americans to evacuate the country in May 1975. He has also played a significant role in helping Hmong veterans form their own honor and color guards and in erecting a monument to Hmong soldiers in Sheboygan, Wisconsin which was dedicated in July 2006. Schofield has produced a DVD, "A Brief History of the Hmong and the Secret War," and speaks extensively about his experiences to help educate the general public and the American-born generation of Hmong.