ace-1 eagles commander
There is much to be said about John "Skid" Boyd. Known as "Forty-Second Boyd," he acquired that nickname in his days as an instructor pilot for the UEE Navy's Fighter Weapons School. Boyd had a standing bet that he could put the best pilots in the Imperial Navy on his six at 500 meters, and within 40 seconds of the call "fight's on!" Boyd would shoot them down or else pay the pilot 40 credits and buy him a steak dinner at Pancho's. In 144 attempts, he never lost the challenge.
Surprisingly, Boyd's actual combat record was unimpressive: 3 confirmed Vanduul and 2 pirates over the course of his combat career. That career was cut short soon after assuming command of UEE Naval Squadron VF-82 (Banshees). Boyd was extremely outspoken regarding what he perceived to be egregious deficiencies in Imperial Naval training, maintenance, weaponry and readiness.
Boyd prepared a controversial, contentious, and among front-line fighter pilots a legendary two-day brief regarding research into what he eventually named Energy Management (E-M) Theory. Boyd prepared a series of graphs, showing UEE units in blue, against Vanduul fighter types in red. In virtually every flight environment, the Vanduul ships were superior, a pronouncement that did not sit well with the Admiralty.
Nevertheless, Boyd and his "fighter mafia" managed to spread bootleg copies of this briefing (in direct contravention of UEE Naval orders) among front-line squadron commanders. Boyd highlighted the few cornering velocities and weapons engagement ranges and positions where the slower and heavier Imperial fighters had an advantage, and urged all UEE pilots to engage only within these limited flight regimes. Within six months of these tactics reaching the front lines, the UEE to Vanduul kill ratio leapt from a (classified) 1.6:1 to an astonishing 7:1.
Demotion and Re-assignment
Boyd's refusal to bury his E-M Theory lead to a reduction in rank from Captain to Commander, and he would have been cashiered had he not made powerful friends among young officers in the Admiralty who saw the truth (and the results) of Boyd's analysis. He was assigned to command VP-166 (Stingers), a third-line patrol squadron keeping peace in the Stanton system.
Boyd watched as the bottom of Academy-ranked pilots arrived at his backwater command, only to be killed in short order by ever more powerfully armed pirates operating almost at will in the Stanton system, due to the laxity of the prior commander. Boyd immediately tightened discipline, and doubled (to two) the number of elements in a standard patrol. This left half as many assets, which required twice as many sorties -- and soon showed the poor performance and morale of the maintenance personnel.
It also showed a dramatic decline in the number of combat losses, especially among "nuggets" fresh out of flight school. Boyd's popularity among his small squadron began to rise accordingly.
Resignation and Withdrawal from Flight Status
Despite the impressive gains, Boyd seemed to be simply unable to keep his mouth shut. A highly-publicized interview with Commander Boyd was released, this time regarding the Militia Mobilization Initiative. A fierce opponent of the policy, Boyd claimed that "The UEE is handing out the weapons that are being used to kill UEE pilots" and that "any navy selling front-tier Hornets and Sabre's to anyone with the cash, and yet consigns its own young pilots to get vaporized in ancient Avengers is not just insane -- it's treasonous."
Needless to say, Boyd was relieved of command the next day. Some contend that Boyd must have known that those kinds of statements could not be tolerated, and that the interview was essentially a flamboyant resignation letter. Others, however, point to Boyd's virtual disappearance and deep depression as signs that the humiliation of being cashiered hurt and surprised him deeply.
John Boyd's introduction to the Aurora Project remains deeply mysterious, but a rough outline of the events is as follows: Boyd somehow met and eventually befriended Walter Fitzgerald, owner of Tricor, and one of the richest men in the UEE. Fitzgerald is widely rumored to be the deep pockets behind the Aurora Project, and was apparently a long-time believer in Boyd and his theories.
Returned to the rank of Captain, John Boyd approaches his sixtieth birthday as commander of Aurora's Aerospace Combat Element-1 (Eagles) where he has been given carte blanche by President Altier, a student and admirer of "The Mad Monk."