John Boyd is one of the greatest military strategists that hardly anyone knows about. Unmatched in the cockpit during the Korean War, his mind was also without rival. He was not simply a warrior of combat, but a warrior-engineer and warrior-philosopher.
When he was 33, he wrote “Aerial Attack Study,” which codified the best dogfighting tactics for the first time, became the “bible of air combat,” and revolutionized the methods of every air force in the world.
His Energy-Maneuverability (E-M) Theory helped give birth to the legendary F-15, F-16, and A-10 aircraft.
A briefing he developed, “Patterns of Conflict,” changed combat strategy for both airmen and ground troops, introduced the oft-cited, and typically misunderstood OODA loop, and “made him the most influential military thinker since Sun Tzu wrote The Art of War 2,400 years ago.”
All in all, John Boyd served in the United States Air Force for twenty-four years and through three wars.
But he was never promoted above colonel.
All because Boyd stubbornly refused to compromise his principles and ideals for advancement.
In today's podcast I talk to John Boyd biographer Robert Coram about the life and career of this fascinating warrior-philosopher and what we can learn from him on how to be better men.