Tribute To John R. Boyd

By Harry Hillaker

This article appeared in the July 1997 issue of Code One Magazine.

John R. Boyd photoAs I sat sipping an after-dinner drink in the Officer’s Club at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida panhandle, I was distracted by the antics of three pilots, still in their flight suits, standing at the bar. One of them, tall with dark curly hair and a cigar in his mouth, talked in a loud animated manner. He used his hands to emphasize his words as fighter pilots are prone to do. I commented to my host, a colonel and chief of development planning, “There’s a guy who obviously thinks he’s the world’s hottest fighter pilot.”

“That’s John Boyd, who may well be one of the hottest pilots around,” my host responded. “You should meet him.”

I wasn’t too interested because I don’t cotton much to loud, showy people. My host, however, insisted. It turned out that Boyd didn’t “cotton” to me either. Upon learning that I was from industry and working on the F-111, he really blistered me.

“You call the F-111 a fighter?” he asked.

“It’s designated a fighter-bomber,” I countered, which didn’t placate him in the least.

“You guys in industry