William G. Boykin
William Gerald Boykin
|Born||April 19, 1948|
Wilson, North Carolina
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1971–2007|
|Commands held||Delta Force|
U.S. Army Special Operations Command
John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center
Operation Urgent Fury
Operation Just Cause
Operation Gothic Serpent
Operation Eagle Claw
|Awards||Combat Infantryman Badge|
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Master Parachutist Badge
Military Freefall Badge
Special Forces Tab
|Other work||Professor: Hampden–Sydney College|
Executive Vice President: Family Research Council
William Gerald "Jerry" Boykin (born April 19, 1948) is a retired American general officer who was the United States Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence under President George W. Bush from 2002 to 2007. During his 36-year career in the military he spent 13 years in the Delta Force and was involved in numerous high-profile missions, including the 1980 Iran hostage rescue attempt, the 1992 hunt for Pablo Escobar in Colombia, and the Black Hawk Down incident in Mogadishu, Somalia. He is an author and teaches at Hampden–Sydney College, Virginia. He is currently executive vice president at the Family Research Council.
William Gerald "Jerry" Boykin was born on April 19, 1948 in Wilson, North Carolina. He attended New Bern high school and was the captain of the football team. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) with a bachelor's degree in English in 1971.
Early military career
As a young officer, he held positions in the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas, and in the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam, and served as a company commander in the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Stewart, Georgia. In 1978 Boykin volunteered for and completed a specialized selection course for assignment to the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta, or Delta Force and held numerous leadership positions including operations officer, troop commander, squadron commander, deputy commander and finally unit commander from July 1992 to July 1994. Lieutenant Colonel Lewis H."Bucky" Burruss, helping with Delta Force selection in early 1978, recalled that Boykin "had a bad knee and I thought he would never make it.... I thought, I hate to see this guy busting his [butt], I don't see how he can make it on this bad road wheel, but he surprised us." He was finally accepted into the Delta Force at the age of 29. Burruss wrote at the time that "Jerry Boykin is a Christian gentleman of the highest order." Boykin believed God had a hand in things: "God led me into the Delta Force.... And He said to me, 'This is where you ought to be.'"
By 1980 he was the Delta Force operations officer on the April 24–25 Iranian hostage rescue attempt. Boykin called it "the greatest disappointment of my professional career because we didn't bring home 53 Americans." Despite this, his "faith was strengthened" believing he had witnessed "a miracle": "Not one man who stood with us in the desert and pleaded for God to go with us was killed or even injured that night."
In 1983 Major Boykin was in charge of a 'special' security detail consisting of OC Delta 9 and one OC CIA SA officer in South Korea to gain intelligence on the troop buildup by North Korea on the DMZ and as additional security for President Reagan's visit.
In October 1983, Boykin took part in Operation Urgent Fury, the invasion of the Caribbean island of Grenada. He was wounded by anti-aircraft fire during the Delta helicopter assault on Richmond Hill prison. In 1989, Boykin took part in Panama as part of the mission to apprehend Manuel Noriega. and participated in Operation Acid Gambit. From 1990 to 1991 Boykin attended the Army War College. In 1992 and early 1993, as a colonel, Boykin was in Colombia leading a mission to hunt for drug lord Pablo Escobar. Seymour Hersh later claimed in The New Yorker that there were suspicions within the Pentagon that Boykin's team was going to take part in the assassination of Pablo Escobar, and that US Embassy officials in Colombia were acting as support. Hersh refers to Mark Bowden's book Killing Pablo which made allegations that the Pentagon believed Boykin intended to break the law and exceed his authority in the operation. Mark Bowden states that "within the special ops community... Pablo's death was regarded as a successful mission for Delta, and legend has it that its operators were in on the kill." Hersh quotes an anonymous retired army general as saying, "That's what those guys did. I've seen pictures of Escobar's body that you don't get from a long-range telescope lens. They were taken by guys on the assault team."
Some time afterwards, Boykin served at the Central Intelligence Agency as Deputy Director of Special Activities, and was promoted to brigadier general. He was later made Deputy Director for Operations, Readiness, and Mobilization when assigned to the Army Staff.
From 1998 to 2000, he served as the commanding general, U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. From 2000 to 2003, he was the commanding general, United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, Fort Bragg, N.C. In June 2003, he was appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence under Dr. Stephen Cambone, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.
On July 16, 2012, he was named executive vice president at Family Research Council. He joined because he wanted to "restore the values that made America a great nation" and preserve the future of his grandchildren. He also stated that FRC president Tony Perkins "needs some grizzled old people around him who will not be deterred by the criticism of the media.".
Awards and decorations
Religious/Political views and comments
Boykin, a born-again Christian, has gained attention for his Christian views over the years; and, some of his public remarks which cast the War on Terror in religious terms have generated considerable controversy. A Pentagon investigation concluded in 2004 that he had violated regulations by failing to explain that these remarks were not made in an official capacity.
In an October 2003 speech to a community church in Oregon, Boykin was recorded stating that Islamic extremists hate the United States "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christians. ... And the enemy is a guy named Satan." William Arkin, military analyst for NBC News, was the source of the video and audiotapes of Boykin. The following day the Los Angeles Times ran a piece on Boykin. Among several quotes, the article revealed Boykin giving a speech about hunting down Osman Atto in Mogadishu: "He went on CNN and he laughed at us, and he said, 'They'll never get me because Allah will protect me. Allah will protect me.' Well, you know what? I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol." Boykin later clarified this statement, saying that he was implying that Atto's true "god" was money.
Boykin's remarks were denounced—Arab and Muslim organizations within the US were highly critical of the comments. James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations and a number of commentators called for his resignation. Several publications, such as Newsweek, carried articles calling for his resignation, while Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) were quick to denounce the remarks. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-VA) and Democrat Carl Levin both urged Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to launch an investigation. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and 26 supporters put forward H. RES. 419 "Condemning religiously intolerant remarks and calling on the President to clearly censure and reassign Lieutenant General Boykin".
President George W. Bush distanced himself from the statements, saying that Boykin didn't "reflect my point of view or the point of view of this administration."  Donald Rumsfeld defended Boykin, describing him as "an officer that has an outstanding record in the United States armed forces", and that the War on Terrorism was "not a war against a religion".
Marine General Peter Pace, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff stated that Boykin was "sad...that his comments created the fury they had," and expressed his belief that Boykin "does not see this battle as a battle between religions, he sees this as a battle between good and evil, the evil being the acts of individuals."
Boykin issued a public statement stating, "My comments to Osman Otto in Mogadishu were not referencing his worship of Allah but his worship of money and power; idolatry. He was a corrupt man, not a follower of Islam. My references to Judeo-Christian roots in America or our nation as a Christian nation are historically undeniable." CNN later revealed that several parts of his statement were removed on the advice of Pentagon attorneys. Among the parts removed was Boykin's assertion that "the sensitivities of my job today dictate that further church speeches are inappropriate", and "As a Christian, I believe that there is a spiritual war that is continuous as articulated in the Bible. It is not confined to the war of terrorism."
Boykin himself then requested an investigation by the inspector general into the allegations. A ten-month investigation carried out by the Department of Defense later concluded in August 2004 that Boykin had broken three rules in giving the speeches: that he did not clarify that he gave the remarks in a private capacity; that he hadn't received clearance for making the remarks; and that he hadn't declared the reimbursement of travel funds by one of the religious groups hosting the speaking events. However, the report made no comment on the actual remarks made, and little action was taken against Boykin. An anonymous senior Pentagon official stated that the infractions were relatively minor and rarely subject to prosecution. The report defended the decision not to comment on Boykin's actual comments for several reasons, primarily because "freedom of expression considerations under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution apply in this case."
On September 26, 2009, Boykin gave an address at a How to Take Back America Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, hosted by the Eagle Forum. According to the Canada Free Press, General Boykin asked the audience. "What are you prepared to give up for America? Are you willing to pay the ultimate price?" He followed up with warning, "there is no greater threat to America than Islam".
In 2010, Boykin was one of two "team leaders" of Team B II which released a report entitled Shariah: The threat to America. An exercise in competitive analysis, published by the Center for Security Policy, which William Arkin and Dana Priest described as "a Washington-based neoconservative think tank." The other team leader was Lt. General Harry Soyster (Ret.), former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and other team members included R. James Woolsey, Jr., former CIA Director and CSP President Frank Gaffney, Jr., former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy (Acting).
The book "describes what its authors call a 'stealth jihad' that must be thwarted before it's too late," and argues that "most mosques in the United States already have been radicalized, that most Muslim social organizations are fronts for violent jihadists and that Muslims who practice sharia law seek to impose it in this country." According to an opinion-piece in the Washington Post, "Government terrorism experts call the views expressed in the center's book inaccurate and counterproductive."
Boykin is listed as a board member of The Oak Initiative, a conservative Christian group that describes itself as "a grassroots movement to Unite, Mobilize, Equip, and Activate Christians to be the salt and light they are called to be by engaging in the great issues of our time from a sound biblical worldview."  Other well-known board members include Rick Joyner, founder of Morningstar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries, and Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition.
Boykin is listed as the Grand Chancellor of the Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, a self-styled order of chivalry.
In January 2013, he received a letter of reprimand from then Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army Lloyd Austin for disclosing classified information in his book "Never Surrender: A Soldier's Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom."
On May 17, 2016, Boykin stated on Facebook that he was terminated from his job at Hampden–Sydney College in Farmville, Va. because of his comments regarding bathroom bills. "The first man who goes in the restroom with my daughter will not have to worry about surgery," Boykin said was the comment that cost him his job. After a furor over his dismissal, Hampden–Sydney reinstated him same day.
War on Terror tactics
The New York Times reported on March 18, 2006, that, when asked by Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone to "get to the bottom" of abuses committed by an elite counterinsurgency task force, Boykin found no pattern to them, despite reporter alleged ample evidence to the contrary.
A December 9, 2003, item in The Guardian connected Boykin with secret Israeli counterinsurgency assistance in Iraq, allegedly including assassination squads. In another Guardian article, Sidney Blumenthal, President Bill Clinton's former senior adviser and current Washington bureau chief for Salon.com, claimed that towards the end of 2003, it was Boykin who, under Donald Rumsfeld's orders, advised then Camp X-Ray head Major General Geoffrey Miller in Guantanamo to transfer the same Camp X-Ray methods to Abu Ghraib and the Iraqi prison system.
In 2003, Seymour Hersh claimed in the New Yorker that Boykin was a key planner, along with Stephen Cambone, behind Rumsfeld's Special Forces approach to fighting the War on Terror. Furthermore, when Boykin was questioned in a congressional inquiry regarding similarities between current War on Terror special operations and USA's Phoenix Program during the Vietnam War, he said: "I think we're running that kind of program. We're going after these people. Killing or capturing these people is a legitimate mission for the department. I think we're doing what the Phoenix Program was designed to do, without all of the secrecy."
In 2005, Hersh claimed that the US had begun to undertake secret, off-the-books, covert missions in Iran to identify key targets for possible strikes in destabilizing its nuclear facilities, and against the larger War on Terror, with the chain of command for the commando operations falling to Rumsfeld, Cambone and Boykin.
- "Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict Legislation: Why Was It Passed and Have the Voids Been Filled ?", US Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, 1991 OCLC 36734112
- Never Surrender: A Soldier's Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom, FaithWords, New York, 2008, ISBN 978-0446582155
- Man to Man: Rediscovering Masculinity in a Challenging World, New York: Post Hill Press, 04/14/2020 ISBN 9781642933680
- The Warrior Soul: Five Powerful Principles to Make You a Stronger Man of God ISBN 978-1629980164
- Danger Close: A Novel ISBN 978-0805449556
- Kiloton Threat: A Novel ISBN 978-0805449549
- Thompson, Mark (October 27, 2003). "The Boykin affair: A long career of marching with the cross". Time. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
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- Smith, R. Jeffrey; White, Josh (August 19, 2004). "General's Speeches Broke Rules". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
- "Alleged Improprieties Related to Public Speaking: Lieutenant General William G. Boykin U.S. Army Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-17. Retrieved 2007-06-19.
- Montopoli, Brian (September 28, 2009). "Conservatives Fight "Homosexual Extremist Movement"". CBS News. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
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|Wikiquote has quotations related to: William G. Boykin|
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- "Boykin speaks at length with Producer Richard Mackenzie for National Geographic documentary on Special Force" National Geographic, Summer, 2003
- "Rumsfeld defends general who commented on war and Satan" CNN, October 17, 2003
- CBS Sixty Minutes, "The Holy Warrior": September 15, 2004
- General Faulted for Satan Speeches": Associated Press, August 19, 2004
- Biographic information and quotes
- The Boykin affair CNN/Time, October 27, 2003
- The New York Review of Books on the role of religion in the Bush administration, including a discussion of Boykin
- Book Review of Never Surrender at Letters On Pages
- Official Website for Jerry Boykin and his book Never Surrender
- Official Christian Ministry Website for LTG William G. Boykin (USA, Ret.)
- Comments on the Fort Hood terrorist murders by LTG William G. Boykin (USA, Ret.) December 2009
- William G. Boykin interview on CBN about his book A Soldier's Crossroads of Faith and Freedom
- William Boykin speaking at Epicenter 08 and Epicenter 09 conferences
- William Boykin interviewed on 60 Minutes II
- General Jerry Boykin Interview – Allies Are Important, WallBuilders Live interview