John Boyd

War Hero

Birthday January 23, 1927

Birth Sign Aquarius

Birthplace Pennsylvania

DEATH DATE Mar 9, 1997 (70)

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After serving in the Korean and Vietnam wars, this American fighter pilot, flight instructor, and military theorist and tactical expert was hired by Major General Arthur C. Agan, Jr. as a high-level advisor and analyst at the U.S. Pentagon.

Before Fame

After earning a degree in economics from the University of Iowa and a degree in industrial engineering from Georgia Tech, he became a United States Air Force fighter pilot in the Korean War. After returning from combat, he entered the prestigious Fighter Weapons School.


He is particularly remembered for his OODA Loop theory, which breaks down the elements of decision-making in high-risk combat situations, as well as for his theoretical division of warfare into moral, mental, and physical components. In the 1960s, he and mathematician Thomas Christie jointly devised an aerial combat principle known as the Energy-Maneuverability theory.

Family Life

A native of Erie, Pennsylvania, he spent the later years of his life in West Palm Beach, Florida. He and his wife, Mary, raised daughters named Kathryn and Mary Ellen and sons named Scott, Jeff, and Stephen.

Associated With

He and politician Gary Hart both allied themselves with the Defense Reform Movement of the 1970s and '80s.