Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War
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John Boyd may be the most remarkable unsung hero in all of American military history. Some remember him as the greatest U.S. fighter pilot ever -- the man who, in simulated air-to-air combat, defeated every challenger in less than forty seconds. Some recall him as the father of our country's most legendary fighter aircraft -- the F-15 and F-16. Still others think of Boyd as the most influential military theorist since Sun Tzu. They know only half the story. Boyd, more than any other person, saved fighter aviation from the predations of the Strategic Air Command. His manual of fighter tactics changed the way every air force in the world flies and fights. He discovered a physical theory that forever altered the way fighter planes were designed. Later in life, he developed a theory of military strategy that has been adopted throughout the world and even applied to business models for maximizing efficiency. And in one of the most startling and unknown stories of modern military history, the Air Force fighter pilot taught the U.S. Marine Corps how to fight war on the ground. His ideas led to America's swift and decisive victory in the Gulf War and foretold the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. On a personal level, Boyd rarely met a general he couldn't offend. He was loud, abrasive, and profane. A man of daring, ferocious passion and intractable stubbornness, he was that most American of heroes -- a rebel who cared not for his reputation or fortune but for his country. He was a true patriot, a man who made a career of challenging the shortsighted and self-serving Pentagon bureaucracy. America owes Boyd and his disciples -- the six men known as the "Acolytes" -- a great debt. Robert Coram finally brings to light the remarkable story of a man who polarized all who knew him, but who left a legacy that will influence the military -- and all of America -- for decades to come. ..
Copyright Copyright © 2002 by Robert Coram All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review. Hachette Book Group 237 Park Avenue New York, NY 10017 Visit our website at www.HachetteBookGroup.com First eBook Edition: March 2010 ISBN: 978-0-7595-2777-5 To
Force. In early 1974, Boyd learned he was facing a crisis: the three-stars were lying in wait. He was to brief up the ladder to them and then, once there was an impression that he had received a fair hearing, they would scuttle the lightweight fighter once and for all. Christie helped devise a plan that would bypass the three-stars. General George Brown, the Air Force chief of staff, was like the SecDef in that he wanted to leave a legacy for his time in the Building. The greatest single desire
rating is proven to be retributive, it is illegal. A group of lawyers offered Spinney free legal service. They were about to seal the office of Spinney’s boss and seize his records when one of the Reformers leaked the story to George Wilson of the Washington Post. When Spinney’s boss said he had been pressured to give Spinney a low performance rating Weinberger ordered that a new, favorable rating, be issued immediately. Spinney won the battle. But a long war of attrition lay ahead. The
warriors. But the eye quickly roves past all of this and is drawn straight ahead and to the left, to the most prominent display in the lobby: the figure of a man in a blue flight suit. Behind the figure is a model of the F-16 and on his shoulders are the silver eagles of a colonel. The name tag over his right breast is in big bold letters and says JOHN BOYD. In his outstretched arms rests a thick briefing book with a faded green cover: “A Discourse on Winning and Losing.” And finally there is
stopped dictating. Spradling carefully edited the document. But Boyd was not happy and spent weeks doing further editing, revisions, and more editing. Every sentence had to be right. Every maneuver had to be in the proper sequence. He agonized for hours over single words. He rewrote endlessly. After Spradling sent the document to the printer, Boyd still revised. Dozens of one-page corrections were sent to the printer. When Boyd finally, reluctantly, finished, he had a 150-page single-spaced