The importance of being professional

Perhaps Boyd’s greatest contribution wasn’t EM Theory or Patterns of Conflict.  It might have been that he exemplified what it means to be a professional in this day and time.

Retired USMC Colonel Mike Wyly, a guiding force behind the Marines’ efforts to instill maneuver warfare, was also a close associate of Boyd’s.  He writes about Boyd and the ethos of professionalism in the current edition of the Armed Forces Journal:

Professionals have to listen, too; the physician to his patient, the lawyer to his client, the clergyman to his parishioners, the officer to his men.

Boyd embodied these traits and held to them uncompromisingly. I learned from him, and I never offered an idea that he did not hear out in detail. The many, many ideas he injected or tried to inject into the military intellect he had invariably studied, thought out, footnoted and referenced. He did his homework – as a professional.

Mike now runs the Bossov Ballet Theater in Maine and is the author of “Thinking Like Marines,” posted on

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