A Witness to History

Last week, Upper School history students heard from a special guest speaker, Brigadier General Jerry Boykin (USA RET). BG Boykin served for 36 years in the United States Army and Central Intelligence Agency. As one of the founding members of the ultra-secretive Delta Force, BG Boykin participated in the attempted Iranian Hostage Rescue of 1980, the invasion of Grenada in 1983, the invasion of Panama in 1990, and the United Nations mission in Bosnia in the mid 1990’s. In 1993, he commanded the U.S. mission in Mogadishu, Somalia, later chronicled in the book and feature film, Black Hawk Down.

During his visit to St. Mark’s, BG Boykin provided invaluable first-hand insights and anecdotal evidence of how U.S. Special Operations missions altered the geo-political landscape of the late 20th century. He illustrated the direct impact that these successes and failures had on the evolution of how elected officials leverage, apply, and coordinate force through complex and dynamic systems.

Moreover, BG Boykin, shared his personal and spiritual beliefs emphasizing the importance of personal commitment and the development of a “transcendent cause”; something that is meaningful and worth fighting for. For him, family, faith and country are at the core of his belief system and worthy of protection at any cost. BG Boykin encouraged students to find something in their lives that is bigger than themselves and commit themselves to it.

BG Boykin spoke with students from the Post-World War II Special Operations course, a senior-level history elective that studies and analyzes Special Operations groups and missions from World War II through America’s current conflicts.
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