The Heroism of Charles G. Boyd

Charles G. Boyd, who died on Wednesday at eighty-three years old, was a true American hero and patriot. Chuck, as he liked to be called, was the sole prisoner of war (POW) from Vietnam, where he was held captive for almost seven years, to attain the rank of four-star general. Throughout his life and career, he served his country with valor and distinction. He left a permanent mark on the institutions that he helped to lead, including the Center for the National Interest, where he was chairman of the board from January 2014 to March 2020. His quiet authority, judicious judgment, and unflinching fearlessness will be badly missed. As Center President Dimitri K. Simes observes, “General Boyd was a man of courage, integrity, and strong sense of duty who held eloquently formulated political opinions, but he also was a champion of flexibility and compromise, which made him an impressive leader and a wonderful colleague.” Former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, and the United Nations and Center board member Zalmay Khalilzad also emphasizes Boyd’s acuity and ardor to serve his country: “Chuck loved the United States and served it with distinction as an Air Force officer both in combat and in peacetime. He continued to help the nation after his retirement. I observed his patriotism and his sharp intellect as a member and when he chaired the Center for the National Interest.”

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