Thursday, June 28, 2007
"Boyd, The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War"
by Robert Corham
Little, Brown and Co. 2002
People from Pennsylvania are always proud of their heroes and they have had many throughout their history . United States Air Force Colonel John Richard Boyd(1927-1997) from Erie is one of them. Corham suggests Boyd “...as the most influential military theorist since Sun Tzu.” Mostly unknown except to a small group that met every Wednesday night for over thirty years at the Officers Club at Fort Myer next to Washington, DC., this group was noted to be unsurpassed in America for their contribution to national defense.
Boyd served in W.W.II, Korea, and Vietnam and was known as “Forty Second Boyd” because of his ability to invert upon flight training opponents within 40 seconds. In 1960 Boyd completed his “Aerial Attack Study”, a manual which became the official tactics for fighter aircraft. After that he began more ground breaking work with his revolutionary “Energy-Maneuverability Theory”(E-M) which changed people’s fundamental understanding of aviation. E-M could quantify under combat conditions the performance of American aircraft, of “threat aircraft”, and could be used to design fighter aircraft. Corham notes Boyd as the father of the legendary A-10, F-15, and F-16.
Next came one of the few papers Boyd ever wrote, “Destruction and Creation”, 1976. Written in order to understand the thought processes he used when developing his E-M Theory, Corham calls it a window into Boyd’s mind. In order to more fully appreciate Corham’s biography of Boyd and Boyd himself, I recommend it be read first.
Corham now relates how Boyd turned to probably his most important work-a timed based theory of conflict-whoever can handle the quickest rate of change is the one who survives. Thus began what was to become Boyd’s most famous legacy: the Observe-Orient-Decide-Act cycle. Called the OODA Loop I recently found about 1500 references to it on the internet. The OODA Loop when properly used against an enemy causes panic and confusion , unraveling and disorientation before the battle begins; and, lastly, an unexpected lighting thrust . They rarely understand what has happened. The Marine Corps introduced the OODA Loop into combat operations before the USAF. This concept remains today as the basis for military operations.
For those interested in how one man can change the Pentagon’s view in waging warfare this is a must read. It is slow in the middle but perseverance pays the reader. I have had conversations with former Pentagon reporters from Boyd’s era who say Corham’s depiction of Boyd is accurate. They remember him as loud, profane, opinionated, confrontational, and unorthodox. Always ready to take on a defense contractor or a General. Another following in Boyd’s footsteps as an unorthodox military analysts from whom the Pentagon has taken intellectual cues is Thomas Barnett. He deserves your attention as well (reference earlier Post on June 25th on "Globalization").
Dick, in response to Marion Johnson's comment to you that the Thule - Nord shuttles were flown later in the summer, be advised that the photo of Maj. Alex Witmer and myself was, in fact, taken at Nord sometime between 20 May and 28 May 1964. I've forwarded to you via email a copy of the 1st ATS flight order for that mission. Please post the order on the blog (I have copies of flight orders for EVERY mission that I flew while assigned to the 1st ATS each annotated with the actual itinerary - Okay, I was a little anal!). I recall that we also made an "unauthorized" airdrop on that mission. We purloined a condemed parachute from the Thule crew survival shop and attached a package with cans of fruit juice and frozen fish for the men and dogs, respectively, of a Danish expedition out on the north coast of Greenland west of Nord. On our next flight to Nord from Thule, we skillfully located the expedition in a fjord and using my best CARP computation, we dropped the chute and package. At this point we became aware of the fact that it was the practice at that time to CUT the shroud lines on condemed chutes. The package reached the ground significantly before the chute while still accelerating. Boy, were we embarassed! None of the cans of juice survived the drop, but, we were told that the dogs enjoyed the fish.
June 27, 2007 9:30 PM
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
C-133 members: I would like to introduce you to the author and futurist Thomas Barnett. He has written two books; "The Pentagon's New Map" and "Blueprint for Action". Barnett is considered the most influential defense intellectual writing these days and PNM is considered the most influential book of our time relating to the future role of the military. He ties together the importance of combined security, economic, political, and cultural factors to create a new world paradigm to replace that of the cold war. And, that is what makes his writing so interesting to our group as we were all a part of the cold war. The world has changed and the role of the military has really changed.To get you started I am listing a site that shows him giving his "brief" and I will follow that up with other sites every few days that depict his thinking.His counter intuitive thinking is simply stunning and a jolt to those of our age. But, it is difficult to refute even when not in agreement. Gobalization has created a world that has largely moved beyond us and belongs to our grandchildren. Give him a try if this peaks your interest. Here is the site: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/33
June 25, 2007 8:41 PM
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Friday, June 1, 2007
Here's his first Comment:
After the reunion, I visited the National Museum of the USAF, at Wright-Patterson AFB. C-133A 62008 is now inside, protected from the weather. it looks excellent, surrounded by other planes much smaller. There was talk that it would be displayed with an Atlas on its transporter lined up behind. But, the museum could not find the rails that were used. Plus, that would take up a huge amount of floor space. Still, this is one C-133 that is protected the best from weather, birds and all of the other problems that the airplanes stored outside suffer. I enjoyed the reunion a whole lot and it was a great pleasure to meet so many people from the Dover squadrons.Thanks to everyone who contributed so much to the book.
June 5, 2007 1:44 PM