William Boyd was born on February 3, 1921, in North Barnstead, New Hampshire. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces on October 12, 1943, and entered the Aviation Cadet Program on November 5, 1943. Boyd was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings on April 15, 1945. After additional training, he served in Alaska from May 1947 to May 1949, and during this time he participated in the Berlin Airlift from June 1948 to January 1949. Capt Boyd completed Instructor Pilot School in September 1950, and then served as a flight instructor until March 1957, when he transferred to RAF Upper-Heyford, England. He then served as a KC-97 Stratotanker pilot with the 509th Aerial Refueling Squadron at Pease AFB, New Hampshire, from April 1961 to August 1965, followed by service as an Air Force advisor to the 128th Air Refueling Group of the Wisconsin Air National Guard at Mitchell Field, Wisconsin, from August 1965 to February 1967. After completing C-130 Hercules Combat Crew Training, he served with the 346th Tactical Airlift Squadron at Dyess AFB, Texas, from April 1967 to February 1968. Col Boyd then transferred to the 50th Tactical Airlift Squadron of the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing at Ching Chuan Kang AB, Taiwan, where he served from February 1968 to August 1970. During this time, Col Boyd flew 643 combat missions in Southeast Asia. He then served briefly with the 464th Combat Support Group at Pope AFB, North Carolina, before returning to Wisconsin and serving as an Air Force Advisor to the Wisconsin Air National Guard from July 1971 to 1973. Col Boyd's final assignment was at Chanute AFB, Illinois, where he retired from the Air Force on January 1, 1974. William Boyd died on March 31, 1984, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His Air Force Cross Citation reads:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to William Boyd, Jr., Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as a C-130 pilot of the 774th Tactical Airlift Squadron, 463d Tactical Airlift Wing, SEVENTH Air Force, in action at Kham Duc, Republic of Vietnam on 12 May 1968. On that date, Colonel Boyd flew an emergency evacuation mission into Kham Duc Airfield as it was being overrun by hostile forces. Realizing that the friendly ground forces and Vietnamese civilians remaining at Kham Duc had virtually no chance for survival except evacuation by his aircraft, Colonel Boyd, without regard for his personal safety, flew through a veritable hail of hostile fire into the besieged field and successfully evacuated more than one hundred troops and civilians. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Lieutenant Colonel Boyd reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.