John Boyd was born on January 23, 1927, in Erie, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve on October 30, 1944, and went on active duty in the U.S. Army Air Forces on April 16, 1945. After completing basic training and aircraft turret mechanic training, Sgt Boyd served as a swimming instructor in Japan from January 1946 to January 1947, and then served in the Air Force Reserve from January 1947 until he was commissioned a 2d Lt in the Air Force through the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Iowa on June 8, 1951, going on active duty beginning July 8, 1951. Lt Boyd entered pilot training in August 1951, was awarded his pilot wings at Williams AFB, Arizona, in September 1952, and then completed Fighter Bomber Escort Training at Nellis AFB, Nevada. His next assignment was as an F-86 Sabre pilot with the 25th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the 51st Fighter Interceptor Group at Suwon AB, South Korea, from January 1953 to February 1954. After completing Jet Instructor Upgrade Training, he served as an instructor pilot with the 3597th Combat Crew Training Squadron at Nellis AFB from October 1954 to July 1955, and then as a gunnery instructor with the 3525th Combat Crew Training Squadron at Nellis from July 1955 to November 1956. Capt Boyd next served as an air operations officer with the 3595th Combat Crew Training Squadron and the 4520th Combat Crew Training Group at Nellis from November 1956 to July 1958, followed by service as an academic instructor with the 4525th School Squadron at Nellis from July 1958 to September 1960. He received an Air Force Institute of Technology assignment to Georgia Tech from September 1960 to October 1962, and then served as a Research and Development Officer with the Air Proving Ground Center at Eglin AFB, Florida, from October 1962 to October 1966. Col Boyd's next assignment was as a Research and Development Director with Headquarters U.S. Air Force at the Pentagon from October 1966 to August 1969, followed by service as a Research and Development Director with Air Force Systems Command at Andrews AFB, Maryland, from August 1969 to April 1972. He served as Vice Commander of Task Force Alpha and as Commander of the 56th Combat Support Group at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from April 1972 to April 1973, and then as Chief of the Development Plans and Analysis Group with Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon from May 1973 until his retirement from the Air Force on September 1, 1975. John Boyd died on March 20, 1997, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. He was a U.S. Military Strategist, and the person that invented the "OODA" Loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act), which is still used by the military and corporate world.
His 4th Legion of Merit Citation reads:
Colonel John R. Boyd distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the United States as Chief, Development Plans and Analysis Group, Directorate of Operational Requirements and Development Plans, Deputy Chief of Staff, Research and Development, Headquarters United States Air Force, from 10 May 1973 to 31 August 1975. In this important assignment, the leadership, exemplary foresight, and ceaseless efforts consistently demonstrated by Colonel Boyd resulted in significant contributions to improvement of development planning, enhancement of tactical combat aircraft forces, initiation of advanced prototype efforts, refinement of the requirements process and the resolution of countless other complex problems of major importance to the Air Force. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Colonel Boyd culminate a distinguished career in the service of his country, and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.