JOHN BOYD WAS A PATRIOT, A MORAL LEADER, AND A BONAFIDE VISIONARY. AND YES, HE WAS A MAVERICK.

My friend Don Vandergriff was given the text for the speech delivered last Thursday June 13th by MajGen Jack Shanahan at Nellis Air Force Base upon the rededication of Boyd Hall. He got the speech from his friend, Robert Coram, author of Boyd: The Fighter Pilot who Changed the Art of War. He was just present at the dedication of the John Boyd Building at Nellis, AFB, Nevada. My purpose for sharing is that you read the speech and get an understanding of John Boyd's integrity, leadership abilities and impact on this country and how he continually pursued excellence through adaptation. There are many lessons in this speech every cop can learn from and emulate. Stay Oriented! Fred

USAF WEAPONS SCHOOL
BUILDING 118 BOYD HALL RE-DEDICATION CEREMONY
13 JUNE 2013
1330L

Original dedication was 17 Sep 1999.

GENERAL LOFGREN, GENERAL MOORE, COLONEL GARLAND, ROBERT CORAM AND JEANNINE ADAMS, DR LEOPOLD AND MICKI DEMARCO, DARTH DRABANT, MR FUNK, MR NIEHUSER; OTHER SPECIAL GUESTS; COMMANDERS AND AIRMEN OF THE WARFARE CENTER, 57TH WING, AND WEAPONS SCHOOL; AND ESPECIALLY MARY ELLEN BOYD AND JOHN SCOTT BOYD, WELCOME. THANK YOU ALL FOR JOINING US THIS AFTERNOON.

I NEED TO THANK ALL OF THOSE WHO MADE THIS CEREMONY POSSIBLE -- WHICH INCLUDED SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS OF YOUR TIME, MONEY, AND BOYD MEMENTOS. IN PARTICULAR COLONEL GARLAND, CHIEF CLEVELAND, CAPTAIN WETZEL, CAPTAIN GILPIN, ROBERT, MARY ELLEN, DR LEOPOLD, MR DONNELLY, COLONEL CATTON….AND MANY OTHERS. AND SPECIAL THANKS TO MAJOR WOODY FIGUEROA AND THE RELATIVELY SMALL TEAM OF LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE HERE AT THE WEAPONS SCHOOL FOR THEIR ADMIRABLE TENACITY IN TURNING CONCEPT INTO REALITY, CULMINATING IN THIS AFTERNOON’S DEDICATION CEREMONY; PROOF THAT THERE IS YET ANOTHER GENERATION OF YOUNG AIR FORCE OFFICERS EAGER TO PERPETUATE JOHN BOYD’S LEGACY.

I FIND IT RATHER IRONIC, AND PARTICULARLY SATISFYING, TO STAND BEFORE YOU THIS AFTERNOON DELIVERING REMARKS AT THIS BOYD HALL RE-DEDICATION CEREMONY. YOU SEE, 14 YEARS AGO, WHEN I WAS THE COMMANDER OF THE AIR FORCE WEAPONS SCHOOL SUPPORT SQUADRON HERE AT NELLIS, I WAS TASKED TO BE THE PROJECT OFFICER FOR A PROPOSED BUILDING DEDICATION FOR AN AIR FORCE OFFICER I HAD BARELY HEARD OF. THE SENIOR AIR FORCE LEADERSHIP AT THE TIME HAD PROMISED CONGRESS THE AIR FORCE WOULD DEDICATE A BUILDING AT NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE TO THIS DECEASED OFFICER, WHO HAD RETIRED AS A FULL BIRD COLONEL. AFTER NOTHING HAD HAPPENED FOR MANY MONTHS, THERE WERE ADDITIONAL CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES. THE FOUR STAR CALLED THE THREE STAR, WHO CALLED THE TWO STAR, WHO CALLED THE ONE-STAR WING COMMANDER , WHO CALLED THE COLONEL COMMANDANT OF THE WEAPONS SCHOOL, WHO CALLED ME, A LIEUTENANT COLONEL AT THE TIME,TO SAY I NEEDED TO GET MOVING. OTHER THAN BEING ON THE RECEIVING END OF THE TASKING WHIP, I HAD VERY LITTLE OTHER ACCOMPANYING GUIDANCE OR BACKGROUND INFORMATION TO WORK FROM. NOW, IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THE AIR FORCE DID NOT PROPOSE DEDICATING A BUILDING TO THIS FAMOUS, OR RATHER INFAMOUS, FIGHTER PILOT AND THINKER. THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS DEDICATED PART OF THEIR LIBRARY AT QUANTICO TO THIS MAN. FAMOUS MARINE GENERAL OFFICERS SUCH AS AL GRAY, CHUCK KRULAK, AND PAUL VAN RIPER EMPHASIZED THE MAJOR INFLUENCE THIS AIR FORCE FIGHTER PILOT HAD ON THE CORPS. IN COMPARISON, OUR AIR FORCE HAD NOT DONE ANYTHING. THE IMPETUS CAME FROM OUTSIDE OUR SERVICE, FROM CONGRESS, SPARKED IN TURN BY RELENTLESS PRESSURE BY A FEW HIGHLY INFLUENTIAL ACOLYTES WHO DEVOTED COUNTLESS TIME AND EFFORT TO ENSURE THIS ONCE-IN-A-GENERATION OFFICER WAS APPROPRIATELY RECOGNIZED FOR HIS MONUMENTAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE AIR FORCE AND OUR NATION.

ONCE I WAS TAGGED WITH THE PROJECT, I REALIZED I NEEDED TO LEARN EVERYTHING I COULD ABOUT THIS MAVERICK FIGHTER PILOT WITH THE NAME OF COLONEL JOHN BOYD, RETIRED. IT WAS A FASCINATING JOURNEY. NOT ONLY DID I HAVE ACCESS TO ALL OF BOYD’S OFFICIAL RECORDS AND PERFORMANCE REPORTS FROM HIS AIR FORCE CAREER, BUT ALSO TO SOME GROUND-BREAKING MATERIAL HE WROTE WHILE AN INSTRUCTOR HERE AT THE WEAPONS SCHOOL AND IN LATER LIFE. THE MORE I LEARNED, THE MORE I WAS HOOKED. INDEED, MY SENSE OF PROFESSIONAL INADEQUACY GREW WITH EVERY NEW FACT I ABSORBED. BOYD WAS A MAN WHO, DESPITE SOME SELF-ADMITTED FLAWS, MADE MORE OF AN IMPACT IN ANY GIVEN FIVE-YEAR PERIOD OF SERVICE AS AN AIR FORCE OFFICER AND CIVILIAN THAN MANY OF US HAVE MADE IN OUR ENTIRE CAREERS.

WHILE THERE WAS HEARTY SUPPORT FROM THE WEAPONS SCHOOL COMMANDANT FOR DEDICATING A BUILDING ON BASE TO BOYD, THERE WAS LESS ENTHUSIASM BEYOND THE PERIMETER OF THIS WEAPONS SCHOOL. SUFFICE IT TO SAY THAT I HAD TO FIGHT A LITTLE BIT OF AN UPHILL BATTLE DURING THE PLANNING PROCESS.

WHILE PREPARING FOR THE ORIGINAL DEDICATION CEREMONY, I BECAME ACQUAINTED WITH ROBERT CORAM, WHO HAD STARTED WRITING A BOOK ON BOYD’S LIFE. WHEN I FOUND OUT ABOUT ROBERT’S PROJECT I INVITED HIM OUT TO NELLIS AND GAVE HIM A TOUR OF THE BASE, THE OFFICERS’ CLUB, THE WEAPONS SCHOOL, AND THE FLIGHT LINE. I ALSO HELPED HIM INTERPRET BOYD’S OFFICER PERFORMANCE REPORTS, SOME OF WHICH WERE UNLIKE ANY OTHER REPORTS I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY CAREER. IN SHORT, BOYD WAS NOT AFRAID TO SPEAK HIS MIND; A FEW OF HIS SUPERVISORS AND COMMANDERS LIKED AND EVEN ENCOURAGED THAT PERSONALITY TRAIT, OTHERS DID NOT! ROBERT BECAME A GOOD FRIEND. HE ALWAYS TELLS IT LIKE IT IS. FOR THE FEW OF YOU HERE THIS AFTERNOON WHO HAVE NOT ALREADY READ HIS MASTERFUL BOOK ON BOYD, DO SO. IT IS A REMARKABLE READ. DITTO FOR HIS BOOKS ON COLONEL BUD DAY AND GENERAL BRUTE KRULAK.

FOR THESE REASONS, IT IS A SPECIAL HONOR TO STAND IN FRONT OF YOU TO PAY TRIBUTE TO YET ONE MORE WEAPONS SCHOOL GRADUATE, OR “PATCH WEARER,” WHO HAD A LASTING IMPACT ON THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE. TO PLAGIARIZE A PHRASE THE ASSISTANT COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS USED RECENTLY DURING A CEREMONY DEDICATING WALT HALL AT QUANTICO, WE ARE HERE TO FOCUS ON THREE “ATES”: TO DEDICATE, TO COMMEMORATE, AND TO PERPETUATE. WE DEDICATE THIS BUILDING TO JOHN BOYD AND HIS FAMILY; WE COMMEMORATE HIS CONTRIBUTIONS TO OUR NATION; AND WE MUST PERPETUATE HIS IDEAS AND WARRIOR SPIRIT IN ALL FUTURE GENERATIONS OF AMERICAN AIRMEN.

WHILE WE ARE HERE TO RECOGNIZE AND ACCLAIM JOHN BOYD’S ROOTS AT THE WEAPONS SCHOOL, LET US ALSO NOT FORGET THAT HIS IMPACT EXTENDED FAR AND WIDE THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES MILITARY. ALLOW ME A FEW MINUTES TO TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT COLONEL JOHN BOYD AND HIS MANY ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND WHY WE ARE RETURNING TO HONOR HIM A SECOND TIME.

IT HELPS TO BREAK DOWN JOHN BOYD’S MILITARY CAREER AND LIFE IN RETIREMENT BY REVIEWING THE FOUR NICKNAMES, OR CALLSIGNS, BY WHICH HE WAS KNOWN OVER HIS 25 YEAR MILITARY CAREER AND SUBSEQUENT RETIREMENT. SINCE WE ARE HERE AT THE ORIGINAL “HOME OF THE FIGHTER PILOT”, I’LL START WITH HIS FIRST CALLSIGN, “40 SECOND BOYD,” EARNED WHILE HE WAS STATIONED AT NELLIS IN HIS EARLY CAREER.

JOHN AND HIS WIFE MARY WERE STATIONED AT NELLIS FROM 1954 TO 1960. JOHN GRADUATED FROM THE F-100 FIGHTER WEAPONS SCHOOL IN 1955, AND CONTINUED TO HAVE A MAJOR IMPACT ON BOTH THE WEAPONS SCHOOL AND ON AIR COMBAT TRAINING THROUGHOUT THE AIR FORCE. THEN-CAPTAIN BOYD FLEW TWO TO THREE SORTIES A DAY FOR ALMOST FIVE YEARS. IN THE SAME MANNER WE DEMAND OF OUR “PATCH WEARERS” TODAY, HE WAS CONSTANTLY SEEKING A BETTER WAY OF FLYING AND FIGHTING. HE KNEW THE HORIZONTAL AIR COMBAT TACTICS THEN IN VOGUE HAD SERIOUS FLAWS. HE ALSO KNEW HIGH “G” MANEUVERS WERE NOT THE SOLUTION TO EVERY TACTICAL PROBLEM. WITH A MATURITY AND INTELLECT NOT FOUND IN YOUR TYPICAL YOUNG FIGHTER PILOT, CAPTAIN BOYD SPENT HUNDREDS OF HOURS ANALYZING HIS AERIAL COMBAT MANEUVERS, AND MORE IMPORTANT ANALYZING HIS OPPONENTS’ COUNTER MOVES. HE SOON PUBLISHED AN ENDURING WORK CALLED SIMPLY THE “AERIAL ATTACK STUDY.” THIS SEMINAL WORK PUT DOWN ON PAPER WHAT JOHN BOYD HAD BEEN TRYING TO GET ACROSS TO HIS FELLOW WEAPONS SCHOOL FIGHTER PILOT INSTRUCTORS AND STUDENTS FOR YEARS. IT IS FAIR TO SAY THAT MOST OF THE CONCEPTS OUTLINED IN CAPTAIN BOYD’S AERIAL ATTACK STUDY ARE STILL USED TODAY THROUGHOUT WEAPONS SCHOOL AIR-TO-AIR TRAINING.

WHILE HERE AT NELLIS, CAPTAIN BOYD EARNED HIS “40 SECOND BOYD” CALLSIGN FOR HIS STANDING OFFER THAT HE COULD MANEUVER FROM A POSITION OF DISADVANTAGE IN FRONT OF HIS OPPONENT’S GUN SIGHT, TO A POSITION OF ADVANTAGE BEHIND HIM, IN 40 SECONDS OR LESS. IF HE LOST, HE WOULD PAY HIS CHALLENGER FORTY DOLLARS. ONE OF COLONEL BOYD’S FRIENDS SAID THEN-CAPTAIN BOYD USUALLY NEEDED ONLY TWENTY SECONDS TO WIN, BUT HE LIKED A LITTLE PAD FOR INSURANCE. DESPITE ONE OR TWO DUBIOUS CLAIMS TO THE CONTRARY, IT IS BELIEVED THAT CAPTAIN BOYD NEVER LOST HIS BET.

AFTER LEAVING NELLIS IN THE EARLY 1960s, JOHN BOYD WENT TO GEORGIA TECH FOR HIS DEGREE IN INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING. HE AND MARY WERE THEN SENT TO EGLIN AFB, WHERE HE PICKED UP THE SECOND OF HIS FOUR CALLSIGNS—HE BECAME KNOWN AS THE “MAD MAJOR.” NOT, OF COURSE, IN REFERENCE TO HIS SANITY (THOUGH SOME OF HIS ENEMIES HAVE SUGGESTED OTHERWISE), BUT IN HONOR OF HIS SUPREMELY INTENSE DEVOTION TO DUTY. THE AIR COMBAT LESSONS GLEANED FROM TWO THOUSAND HOURS OF FIGHTER TIME SERVED HIM WELL IN HIS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT JOBS AT EGLIN. WITH HIS BOISTEROUS EXTERIOR HIDING A TRULY INCISIVE, PENETRATING INTELLECT, MAJOR BOYD DECIDED IT WAS TIME TO REALLY UNDERSTAND WHY AIR BATTLES WERE WON AND LOST. HE TAUGHT HIMSELF ENOUGH CALCULUS TO PUT SCIENTIFIC CREDIBILITY BEHIND HIS NEW THEORIES. WITH THE CLOSE, SURREPTIOUS SUPPORT OF THOMAS CHRISTIE, HE CONCEIVED, INITIATED, AND MATURED HIS GROUND-BREAKING WORK ON ENERGY MANEUVERABILITY. KNOWN SIMPLY AS EM THEORY, IT PROVIDED FOR THE FIRST TIME A METHOD OF COMPARING FIGHTER AIRCRAFT PERFORMANCE. IT ESTABLISHED THE CRITICAL LINK BETWEEN ENGINEER AND TACTICIAN—ONE THAT HAD BEEN MISSING FOR YEARS IN FIGHTER DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCTION. ARMED WITH EM THEORY AND A SET OF SO-CALLED ‘EM DIAGRAMS,” FIGHTER PILOTS WERE ABLE TO COMPARE THEIR AIRCRAFT WITH OTHERS, FRIEND AND FOE ALIKE. THEY COULD THEN SELECT THOSE REGIMES OF THE FLIGHT MANEUVERING “ENVELOPE” ADVANTAGEOUS TO THEM, WHILE IN THE SAME MANNER AVOID THOSE AREAS OFFERING THEIR OPPONENT A SIGNIFICANT ADVANTAGE. MAJOR BOYD’S EM THEORY WORK WAS, IN A WORD, STUNNING. TO HIGHLIGHT HOW IT HAS STOOD THE TEST OF TIME, EVERY AIRCRAFT TACTICS MANUAL PUBLISHED TODAY INCLUDES A SET OF EM DIAGRAMS, PATTERNED ALMOST EXACTLY AFTER BOYD’S ORIGINAL WORK.

AS MAJOR BOYD MOVED ON HIS CAREER, HE WAS PROMOTED TO LIEUTENANT COLONEL AND BECAME ONE OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS OF THE SO-CALLED “FIGHTER MAFIA.” THIS WAS A SMALL CADRE OF FIGHTER PILOTS GRAVELY CONCERNED THAT THE AIR FORCE WAS HEADED DOWN THE WRONG PATH IN DEVELOPING THE NEXT GENERATION FIGHTER AIRCRAFT. THE FIGHTER MAFIA KNEW WHAT AIR COMBAT WAS ALL ABOUT, AND THEY WANTED A SMALL, INEXPENSIVE, LIGHT-WEIGHT, HIGH PERFORMANCE FIGHTER. THEY USED JOHN BOYD’S EM THEORY TO PROVE THEIR POINT. IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO ARGUE WITH THE FACTS. COLONEL BOYD’S INPUTS WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR TRANSFORMING THE PROPOSED 60,000 POUND, SWEPT-WING, LOW PERFORMANCE FIGHTER INTO WHAT BECAME THE F-15 EAGLE, UNDISPUTABLY THE WORLD’S SUPREME AIR-TO-AIR FIGHTER FOR ALMOST FORTY YEARS.
BUT JOHN BOYD WAS NOT CONTENT. HE STILL THOUGHT THE F-15 WAS TOO HEAVY AND NOT MANEUVERABLE ENOUGH -- HARD AS THAT IS FOR MANY OF US TO BELIEVE TODAY. HIS FIGHTER MAFIA TEAMED UP WITH A FEW SELECT ENGINEERS AND DEFENSE DEPARTMENT CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES TO BECOME THE DRIVING FORCE IN THE DESIGN OF A NEW LIGHTWEIGHT FIGHTER—A LOW COST, EVEN MORE MANEUVERABLE AIRCRAFT. IN SHORT TIME THIS CONCEPT BECAME REALITY WHEN THE F-16 “FIGHTING FALCON” ENTERED PRODUCTION. I COULD GO ON ABOUT THE F-16’S RECORD OVER THE PAST TWO DECADES, BUT THE VIPER’S PEACETIME PERFORMANCE AND COMBAT RESUME SPEAK MUCH LOUDER THAN ANYTHING I COULD OFFER. IT IS AMAZING TO THINK THAT COLONEL JOHN BOYD AND HIS SMALL FIGHTER MAFIA INFLUENCED THE SHAPE, CHARACTER, AND CONTENT OF THE TACTICAL AIR FORCE FROM THE 1970s TO THE PRESENT. THEY CAN LEGITIMATELY CLAIM PARENTHOOD OF THE F-15, F-16, AND EVEN THE A-10 WARTHOG.

NOW, IT IS ONLY FAIR TO PRESENT ANOTHER SIDE OF THIS STORY. AS SOMEONE WHO FLEW THE F-15E STRIKE EAGLE FOR ALMOST TEN YEARS, I HAVE TO SAY THAT IF BOYD HAD HAD HIS WAY, THE F-15E WOULD HAVE NEVER EXISTED AND THE F-16 WOULD HAVE NEVER BECOME THE ALL-WEATHER, DAY-NIGHT, PRECISION-WEAPON DROPPING STRIKE FIGHTER THAT AMASSED THAT INCREDIBLE COMBAT RECORD OVER THE PAST 25 YEARS. HE WOULD HAVE FOUGHT AGAINST BOTH IDEAS, AS THEY WERE CONTRARY TO HIS CONCEPT OF A LIGHTWEIGHT, INEXPENSIVE SINGLE-MISSION FIGHTER. YET TO BOYD’S UNDIMINISHED CREDIT, IF IT WASN’T FOR HIS INSISTENCE AND PERSISTENCE ON CHANGING THE WAY FIGHTERS WERE DESIGNED AND BUILT AT THE TIME, INSTEAD OF THE EAGLE, STRIKE EAGLE AND VIPER TODAY WE WOULD HAVE ENDED UP WITH A BIGGER, SLOWER, LESS MANEUVERABLE F-111, F-4, OR F-14. HE CHANGED THE RULES OF THE GAME. ALMOST OVERNIGHT. AFTER THAT, IT WAS UP TO BIG AIR FORCE TO TRANSFORM THE F-15 AND F-16 INTO WHAT YOU SEE TODAY.

IN THE EARLY 1970s JOHN ACQUIRED THE THIRD OF HIS FOUR CALLSIGNS WHEN HE SELECTED AN UNUSUALLY MODEST LIFESTYLE DESPITE A PROMOTION THAT NORMALLY WOULD RESULT IN NEW PERKS AND DEFERENCE. NO SPECIAL TREATMENT FOR HIM. KNOWN AS THE “GHETTO COLONEL,” HE LIVED AN AUSTERE LIFE. BRANCHING OUT FROM HIS STUDY OF AIR COMBAT AND FIGHTER AIRCRAFT DESIGN, HE BECAME DEVOTED TO A STUDY OF SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY, AND THE HUMANITIES. HE STUDIED AS MUCH HEISENBERG AS THUCYDIDES; AS MUCH GODEL AS SUN TZU; AS MUCH KANT AS CLAUSEWITZ. HE BEGAN TO WEAVE SEEMINGLY UNRELATED BITS OF INFORMATION TOGETHER, FINDING A COMMON THREAD AMONG THEM AND USING THOSE THREADS TO DEVELOP INNOVATIVE STRATEGIC CONCEPTS NOBODY ELSE HAD THOUGHT OF. SOME SAY THAT IS ONE OF THE UNIVERSAL SIGNS OF GENIUS. AS BOYD APPROACHED RETIREMENT, HE ADVANCED YET ANOTHER GROUND-BREAKING CONCEPT, THAT OF THE OBSERVATION—ORIENTATION—DECISION—ACTION, OR OODA, LOOP. THIS CONCEPT WAS CONCEIVED IN THE AIR COMBAT RANGES OVER NELLIS, BUT IT TOOK COLONEL BOYD ANOTHER FIFTEEN YEARS TO APPLY IT TO CONFLICT AND COMPETITION IN GENERAL. THE CONCEPT OF DISRUPTING AN OPPONENT’S DECISION CYCLE IS AS OLD AS WARFARE ITSELF, BUT JOHN BOYD’S THEORY OF OPERATING INSIDE AN ADVERSARY’S DECISION CYCLE, OR OODA LOOP, WAS A BOLD NEW CONCEPTION. IT SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRISE THAT THIS CONCEPT WAS USED WITH STUNNING SUCCESS IN OPERATION DESERT STORM. WHILE COLONEL BOYD NEVER RECEIVED MUCH CREDIT AFTER THE WAR, WHEN YOU HEARD GENERAL OFFICERS ON TELEVISION TALKING ABOUT GETTING INSIDE THE IRAQI’S “DECISION CYCLE,” IT WAS NOT TOO HARD TO FIGURE OUT WHERE THE IDEA AND THE WORDS CAME FROM. PERSONALLY, I HAVE SPENT COUNTLESS HOURS THINKING ABOUT THE OODA LOOP AND WHILE I WON’T EVER PRETEND TO SAY I UNDERSTAND IT IN THE WAY THAT BOYD AND HIS ACOLYTES INTENDED, I HAVE A DEEP APPRECIATION FOR THE ROLE OF THE ORIENTATION PHASE OF THE DECISION CYCLE; IN FACT, IT BECAME THE BASIS FOR MUCH OF MY THINKING ABOUT INFORMATION OPERATIONS AND NON-KINETIC EFFECTS IN MY PAST FEW ASSIGNMENTS.

AFTER COLONEL BOYD RETIRED FROM THE AIR FORCE IN 1975, HE GARNERED HIS FOURTH AND FINAL CALLSIGN—“GENGHIS JOHN.” HE BECAME THE CREATOR, CHIEF STRATEGIST, AND SPIRITUAL LEADER OF THE DEFENSE REFORM MOVEMENT. HE WAS CERTAIN THE UNITED STATES MILITARY HAD LOST SIGHT OF HOW TO WIN WARS. HE WAS CONVINCED A BLOATED BUREAUCRACY AND BALLOONING DEFENSE BUDGET WOULD BREAK THE UNITED STATES MILITARY, AND CAUSE NEEDLESS LOSS OF LIFE IN THE NEXT CONFLICT. IT WOULD BE AN UNDERSTATEMENT TO SAY HE WAS AHEAD OF HIS TIME. TEAMING WITH CHUCK SPINNEY, BOYD’S PREDICTION OF A “DEFENSE DEATH SPIRAL” WAS PRESCIENT -- AS YOU CAN SEE FROM THE MULTIPLE BUDGET CRISES THREATENING OUR MILITARY TODAY. BOYD BECAME RELENTLESS IN HIS PURSUIT OF FINDING A BETTER WAY TO FIGHT WARS. HE GAVE HIS FAMOUS “PATTERNS OF CONFLICT” AND “A DISCOURSE ON WINNING AND LOSING” BRIEFINGS TO HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE. SENIOR MILITARY LEADERS OF ALL SERVICES, FAMOUS AND NOT-SO-FAMOUS POLITICIANS AND STAFFERS ON CAPITOL HILL, AND EVEN WORLDWIDE INDUSTRY LEADERS SAT THROUGH HIS BRIEFINGS, SOME OF WHICH WOULD RUN THIRTEEN HOURS OR MORE. HE WAS A CHAMPION OF MANEUVER WARFARE. THE GOAL WAS SIMPLE, THE MEANS MUCH MORE COMPLEX: THROUGH CALCULATED DESTRUCTION OF AN OPPONENT’S ORIENTATION, ISOLATE THEM PHYSICALLY, MORALLY, AND MENTALLY. HE APPRECIATED THE ADVANCE OF TECHNOLOGY, BUT HAD LITTLE PATIENCE FOR THOSE WHO EXPECTED TO RELY UPON TECHNOLOGY TO WIN WARS. AS HE THUNDERED TIME AND TIME AGAIN, “MACHINES DON’T FIGHT WARS. TERRAIN DOESN’T FIGHT WARS. PEOPLE FIGHT WARS. YOU MUST GET INTO THE MINDS OF HUMANS. THAT’S WHERE THE BATTLES ARE WON.” COLONEL BOYD’S IDEAS AND BRIEFINGS SERVED AS THE INSPIRATION FOR THE MARINE CORPS’ NEW FLEET MARINE FORCE MANUAL NUMBER 1, AND WERE PARTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MAJOR RETHINKING OF ARMY DOCTRINE WHICH LED TO THE “AIR LAND BATTLE” CONCEPT. AND AS I ALREADY NOTED, OUR MILITARY’S BRILLIANT SUCCESS IN THE DESERTS OF IRAQ CAN BE TRACED BACK TO COLONEL BOYD’S INFLUENCE ON OUR NATION’S MILITARY AND POLITICAL LEADERSHIP OF THE TIME.

COLONEL BOYD DIED ON MARCH 9TH, 1997. I USED HIS FOUR CALLSIGNS—“40 SECOND BOYD,” “THE MAD MAJOR,” “THE GHETTO COLONEL,” AND “GENGHIS JOHN” TO SKETCH A DECEPTIVELY SIMPLE PICTURE OF THE MAN AND HIS EXCEPTIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE AIR FORCE AND TO THE NATION. JOHN BOYD WAS A PATRIOT, A MORAL LEADER, AND A BONAFIDE VISIONARY. AND YES, HE WAS A MAVERICK. HIS INTEGRITY WAS LEGENDARY. AS HE WOULD TELL HIS FRIENDS, LOYALTY WAS IMPORTANT, BUT INTEGRITY WAS PARAMOUNT. “IF YOUR SUPERIORS DEMAND LOYALTY,” HE SAID, “GIVE THEM INTEGRITY; BUT IF THEY DEMAND INTEGRITY, ALSO GIVE THEM LOYALTY.” (I USED THAT VERY PHRASE JUST LAST WEEK IN MY FIRST MEETING WITH MY SENIOR STAFF AS THE NEW COMMANDER OF THE AIR FORCE ISR AGENCY.) IN ADDITION, COLONEL BOYD WAS KNOWN FOR HIS FAMOUS “TO BE OR TO DO” SPEECH. IN SHORT, HE SAID YOU HAD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN TWO PATHS IN A CAREER: ONE LEADS TO PROMOTIONS, TITLES, AND POSITIONS OF DISTINCTION. THE OTHER LEADS TO DOING THINGS THAT ARE TRULY SIGNIFICANT FOR THE AIR FORCE. THE FORMER MEANS BEING A TEAM PLAYER AT ALL TIMES; THE LATTER MEANS HAVING TO CROSS SWORDS WITH THE PARTY LINE ON OCCASION. TO BE OR TO DO, THAT IS THE QUESTION. IT IS NO SURPRISE TO THIS AUDIENCE THAT JOHN BOYD ALWAYS CHOSE “TO DO” OVER “TO BE.”

AS I CLOSE, LET ME EMPHASIZE COLONEL BOYD’S IMPACT ON THE AIR FORCE AND OUR MILITARY. LIKE MOODY SUTER, HE WAS COLORFUL AND CONTROVERSIAL. SOME MIGHT EVEN SAY A PAIN IN THE ASS. HIS RELATIONSHIPS WITH GENERAL OFFICERS WERE STRAINED (TO BE HONEST, HE PROBABLY WOULD HAVE DRIVEN ME CRAZY AND I’M NOT SURE HE WOULD HAVE LIKED MY LEADERSHIP STYLE). BUT HISTORY IS CHANGED NOT BY THOSE WHO ALWAYS SEEK COMPROMISE, BUT BY THOSE WHO THRIVE ON CONTROVERSY. THE WORLD MAY BE SUSTAINED BY THOSE OF US WHO TEND TO THINK IN INFINITE SHADES OF GRAY, BUT IT IS FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED BY THOSE WHO SEE THINGS IN BLACK AND WHITE. SO IT WAS WITH JOHN BOYD. ALONG THE WAY HE MADE MANY FRIENDS, AND MORE THAN A FEW ENEMIES, BUT BOYD HAD A MOMENTOUS AND ENDURING IMPACT ON HIS BELOVED AIR FORCE AND ON THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES MILITARY.

AS WE RE-DEDICATE THIS BUILDING IN COLONEL JOHN BOYD’S HONOR, LET US NOT FORGET HIS ROOTS AT NELLIS AND IN THE WEAPONS SCHOOL. HIS FIRST AND MOST LASTING IMPRESSION WAS MADE AS A YOUNG OFFICER NOT TOO FAR FROM THIS SPOT. IF NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE WAS THE “HOME OF THE FIGHTER PILOT” FOR OVER SIXTY YEARS, THEN SO IT MUST ALSO REMAIN THE HOME OF COLONEL JOHN RICHARD BOYD.

IF YOU BELIEVE, AS I DO, THAT TIME HEALS ALL WOUNDS, THEN THIS RE-DEDICATION IS THE OFFICIAL BEGINNING OF THE HEALING PROCESS FOR THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE AND COLONEL JOHN BOYD. WE MUST NEVER FORGET THAT IT IS NOT THE RANK ON THE SHOULDERS THAT DETERMINES ONE’S IMPACT IN LIFE. I AM A GREAT ADMIRER OF THE MARINE CORPS, BUT IT IS TIME TO WELCOME JOHN BOYD BACK INTO OUR AIR FORCE FOLD. THROW A NICKEL ON THE GRASS. [PAUSE] LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THANK YOU.