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William G. Boykin

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William G. Boykin

William G. Boykin
Lieutenant General William G. Boykin
Born Wilson, North Carolina
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1971–2007
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held U.S. Army Special Operations Command
John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center
Battles/wars Operation Urgent Fury
Operation Just Cause
Operation Restore Hope
Awards Combat Infantryman Badge
Master Parachutist Badge
Military Freefall Badge
Ranger Tab
Special Forces Tab
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star
Air Medal
Purple Heart (2)
Other work

Professor: Hampden-Sydney College

Executive Vice President: Family Research Council

William G. "Jerry" Boykin was the United States Deputy conservative Christian political activist. During his 36-year career in the military he spent 13 years in the Delta Force, including two years as its commander, 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.[1] He is an author and teaches at Hampden-Sydney College, Virginia.[2] He is currently executive vice president at the Family Research Council.[3]


  • Early life 1
  • Early military career 2
  • Overseas deployments 3
  • Domestic career 4
  • Awards 5
  • Controversies 6
    • Religious/Political views and comments 6.1
    • War on Terror tactics 6.2
  • Books 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life

William G. "Jerry" Boykin was born on April 19, 1948 in Wilson, North Carolina.[4] 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

  • 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
  • on the role of religion in the Bush administration, including a discussion of BoykinThe New York Review of Books
  • 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
  • Washington Post, May 22, 2014 (with link to the reprimand)

External links

  1. ^ a b Thompson, Mark (October 27, 2003). "The Boykin affair: A long career of marching with the cross". Time. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  2. ^ a b "Hampden-Sydney College Faculty and Staff Directory". 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  3. ^ "Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin Joins Family Research Council As Executive Vice President (press release)". Family Research Council. July 16, 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  4. ^ [3]
  5. ^ a b c d Christian Soldier Washington Post, November 6, 2003
  6. ^ a b c [4]
  7. ^ USASOC News Service
  8. ^ a b Seymour M. Hersh, Moving Targets, December 15, 2003, The New Yorker. (archived from the original on 2009-04-25)
  9. ^ a b Jeffrey, Terence P. (July 13, 2012). "Green Beret General Joins Family Research Council to Fight ‘Culture War’ for America’s Grandkids". CNS News. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  10. ^ a b Cooper, Richard (October 16, 2003). "General Casts War in Religious Terms". The Los Angeles Times. 
  11. ^ Jehl, Douglas (March 4, 2005). "Report Urged Action Against General for Speeches". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ Burns, Robert (February 11, 2009). "General Faulted For Satan Speeches". CBS News. 
  13. ^ "William M. Arkin Biography". The Washington Post. February 13, 2007. 
  14. ^ Arkin, William M. (October 16, 2003). "The Pentagon Unleashes a Holy Warrior". Los Angeles Times. Common Dreams. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  15. ^ a b "General explains statements criticized by Muslims". CNN. October 17, 2003. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  16. ^ a b "General William Boykin: Words of Faith". PBS Newshour. October 21, 2003. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  17. ^ "US is 'battling Satan' says general". BBC News. October 17, 2003. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Bill Text – 108th Congress (2003-2004)". THOMAS (Library of Congress). 2003-10-28. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  20. ^ "Bush renews rebuke of Boykin". Washington Times. 2003-10-28. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  21. ^ Rumsfeld defends general who commented on war and Satan, CNN, October 17, 2003. (archived from the original on 2008-05-10)
  22. ^ a b "General Faulted For Satan Speeches". CBS News. February 11, 2009. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  23. ^ "Pentagon deleted part of official's apology". CNN. October 20, 2003. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  24. ^ Smith, R. Jeffrey; White, Josh (August 19, 2004). "General's Speeches Broke Rules". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ Montopoli, Brian (September 28, 2009). """Conservatives Fight "Homosexual Extremist Movement. CBS News. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  27. ^ a b c Priest, Dana and Arkin, William (December 2010) Monitoring America, Washington Post
  28. ^ Shariah: The Threat to America pp.[4-5]
  29. ^ "Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin Joins Family Research Council As Executive Vice President". Christian Newswire. July 16, 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  30. ^ "Board Members". The Oak Initiative. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ Schmitt, Eric; Marshall, Carolyn (March 19, 2006). "In Secret Unit's 'Black Room,' a Grim Portrait of U.S. Abuse". The New York Times. 
  33. ^ Borger, Julian (December 9, 2003). "Israel trains US assassination squads in Iraq". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  34. ^ Blumenthal, Sidney (May 19, 2004). "The religious warrior of Abu Ghraib". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  35. ^ Donald Rumsfeld's New Killer Elite, February 12, 2006, Times Online. (archived from the original on 2009-06-09)
  36. ^ Ramadani, Sami (February 8, 2006). "Iraq invasion deception increasingly shapes coverage of occupation". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  37. ^ Hersh, Seymour M. (January 24, 2005). "The Coming Wars". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 


  • “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


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.[37]

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.[8] 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."[35][36]

A December 9, 2003, item in The Guardian connected Boykin with secret Israeli counterinsurgency assistance in Iraq, allegedly including assassination squads.[33] In another Guardian article, Sidney Blumenthal, President Bill Clinton's former senior adviser and current Washington bureau chief for, 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.[34]

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.[32]

War on Terror tactics

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.[31]

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." [30] 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.

On July 16, 2012, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins announced that Boykin had been named the group's Executive Vice-President.[29]

The book "describes what its authors call a 'stealth [27] According to an opinion-piece in the Washington Post, "Government terrorism experts call the views expressed in the center's book inaccurate and counterproductive."[27]

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."[27] 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).[28]

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".[26]

Boykin himself then requested an investigation by the inspector general into the allegations.[22] 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.[24] 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."[25]

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."[15] 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."[23]

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."[22]

President [20] 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".[21]

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,[16] and the Council on American-Islamic Relations and a number of commentators called for his resignation.[17] Several publications, such as Newsweek,[18] 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.[16] Rep. John Conyers (D-MD) 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".[19]

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.".[10][12] William Arkin,[13] 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."[14] Boykin later clarified this statement, saying that he was implying that Atto's true "god" was money.[15]

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.[10] A Pentagon investigation concluded in 2004 that he had violated regulations by failing to explain these remarks were not made in an official capacity.[11]

Religious/Political views and comments


Medals and awards include: "the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Bronze Star, Air Medal and the Purple Heart (with Oak Leaf Cluster)."[6]

His badges include the Master Parachutist Badge, Military Freefall Badge, Ranger Tab and Special Forces Tab.

Boykin went to Armed Forces Staff College, Army War College, and Shippensburg University (where he received a masters degree).


Boykin is the author of Never Surrender: A Soldier's Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom, Danger Close: A Novel, and Kiloton Threat: A Novel.

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.[9] 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.”.[9]

Boykin retired on August 1, 2007, and began teaching at Hampden-Sydney College.[2]

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.

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.[6]

Domestic career

In April 1993, he helped advise Attorney General Janet Reno regarding the stand-off at Waco, Texas, between the Federal Government and the Branch Davidians.[1]

From 1990 to 1991 he was at 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.”[8]

In 1989, Boykin took part in Panama as part of the mission to apprehend Manuel Noriega.[5]

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 build up by North Korea on the DMZ and as additional security for President Reagan's visit.

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."[7] 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."[5]

Overseas deployments

From 1978–1993 he was assigned in various capacities to the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta, or Delta Force. Lieutenant Colonel L.H. "Bucky" Burruss, helping with Delta Force selection at the time, 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." In fact, a Fort Bragg psychologist almost ended Boykin's career, wanting to exclude him from the Delta Force because he was "too religious". However, 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.'"[5]


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