Colonel Michael Boyd, U. S. Army Retired, is a 1966 Distinguished Military Graduate from the Mississippi State University ROTC Program.
In January, 1967, he was assigned as an Armored Cavalry Platoon Leader with the 3rd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Xuan Loc, Vietnam. While conducting a convoy escort mission in May, 1967, 2LT Boyd’s platoon encountered a heavily armed, reinforced North Vietnamese Army Battalion that had been set up to ambusha Republic of Vietnam Army Battalion traveling in the opposite direction.
Upon entering the ambush kill zone, 2LT Boyd’s platoon became a target of opportunity for the North Vietnamese soldiers. Camouflaged as rice farmers, they threw down their farm tools and opened fire with intense small arms and rocket propelled grenade weapons. 2LT Boyd immediately began returning 50 caliber machine gun fire from his position on his armored cavalry assault command vehicle. Although suffering a direct RPG hit to his own assault vehicle that wounded him in both legs and in his left arm, 2LT Boyd continueddirecting counterfires and maneuver orders forthe platoon’s other armored cavalry assault vehicles in the escort mission. Simultaneously, and still under enemy fire, 2LT Boyd and his crew began rescuing soldiers from other disabled convoy vehicles,while reporting the enemy contact to his troop headquarters, and providing location data for 11th ACR armed helicopter support. Asthe 11th ACR helicopter gunships began attacking the enemy soldier positions, 2LT Boyd continued to direct the surviving members of his platoon out of the ambush kill zone and toward a hastily designated DUSTOFF medevac helicopter landing zone. Later, post-combat ambush zone reconnaissance and intelligence missions confirmed the size of the enemy force as a reinforced battalion and estimated that 2LT Boyd’s platoon was outnumbered 13 to 1.
2LT Boyd was eventually medically evacuated to the 249th General Hospital at Camp Zama, Japan, for continued surgical treatment of his wounds and extended physical therapy.While being treated at the 249th, he was awarded his second Purple Heart for the combat actions of that day in May, 1967. He returned to Vietnam July, 1967, to complete his first combat tour whereupon he was awarded the Bronze Star with “V” Device for his combat heroism in May, 1967.
In April, 1968, 1LT Boyd entered fixed wing flight school, followed by rotary wing transition training, and a return to Vietnam where he flew AH-1G Cobra helicopter gunships with the 4th Battalion, 77th Aerial Rocket Artillery, 101st Airborne Division.
After a career of assignments in Army Aviation, and accumulating almost 4,000 hours of flight time, Colonel Boyd retired in June, 1993, as Chief of Staff, US Army Missile Command. He accepted a position with CAS, Inc., in Huntsville, working with Fred Clark and Bill Stender in continued support of Army Aviation cost / benefit analysis until his second retirement in June, 2014.
COL Boyd is married to the former Miss Deborah Siner of Dupo, Illinois, who currently serves as a Deputy Program Manager for THAAD Foreign Military Sales to the United Arab Emirates. COL Boyd’s son, Michael, completed a 20 year Army career, includinga combined six tours of combat assignments in Afghanistan and Iraq withthe 82nd Airborne Division and 7th Special Forces.
2LT Boyd’s heroism in the face of an armed enemy in May, 1967, is credited with saving the lives of many of his platoon’s soldiers and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.