Charles G. Boyd, Air Force General and former prisoner of war, dies at 83

Despite this, the Air Force wanted to keep him and said they would send him to college. He chose the University of Kansas, where he majored in Latin American Studies. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1975 and his master’s degree in 1976. He then rose through the ranks in the Air Force, serving in the Pentagon and in increasingly senior posts around the world. In 1992 he was promoted to a four-star general.

After retiring from the Air Force, he was invited by Newt Gingrich, who had just organized the first Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 40 years and had become Speaker, to help him implement his strategic vision.

In 1998, Mr. Gingrich and President Bill Clinton established the Hart-Rudman Commission to comprehensively examine the nation’s security apparatus for the first time since 1947. General Boyd, the commission’s executive director, said in Oral History, which had her report taken seriously in early 2001, “had we had at least an even chance of preventing the catastrophe that struck us on 9/11.”

He later became President and Chief Executive of Business Executives for National Security, a nonprofit organization through which top business leaders, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, FedEx’s Fred Smith, and AIG’s Hank Greenberg, offered their expertise to drive efficiency at the Pentagon improve and in homeland security.

In 2002, as President George W. Bush was preparing to invade Iraq, General Boyd and Jessica Mathews, then president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a foreign policy research group in Washington, proposed an alternative to war. They proposed what they called compulsory inspections, in which United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq would be assisted by a US-led multinational inspection enforcement force. These inspectors would require Iraq to comply, “or otherwise,” which could include pursuing regime-change policies. The United States eventually invaded Iraq, but its proposal was discussed at the highest level in Washington.

Over the years, General Boyd has tended to stay out of electoral politics and tacitly supported Republicans. But in 2020, he joined nearly 500 other military and civilian leaders in signing a letter saying he supported Joe Biden as a presidential nominee over President Donald J. Trump.

“Donald Trump’s attack on the rule of law that makes democracy possible was so outrageous that I decided to speak out,” he said in a video on Twitter.

General Boyd and Ms. Mathews married in 2005. She outlives him. In addition to his son, General Boyd, who lived on a farm outside of Marshall, Virginia, is also survived by a daughter, Jessica Van Tillborg; four granddaughters; and his sister Shirlee Bouch. Charles G. Boyd, Air Force General and former prisoner of war, dies at 83

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