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In Memory Of Our
Deceased Members
Boyd D. Sutton
Full Name
Boyd Davis Sutton
Date of Death
4 / 17 / 2018
Burial Site
Northern Wisconsin Veterans Cemetery
Veteran of...
  • Vietnam War
Boyd Davis Sutton died suddenly this past week following a 76-year love affair with life. He will be interred with military honors at the Northern Wisconsin Veterans Cemetery on Friday, August 3, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. The ceremony will be followed by a memorial gathering at the Sutton home, where Boyd’s friends and family are encouraged to share their memories of the man they knew. Details to follow. In lieu of flowers, Boyd would be pleased if donations were made to Planned Pethood Plus (plannedpethoodplus.com), so Dr. Jeff Young “Rocky Mountain Vet” may continue his work to provide spay/neuter and other surgical veterinary services to pets at a fair price to the owners who love them Born in Arizona in 1941, Boyd lived all over the world with his parents, as his father served in various US government assignments, including Germany, England, Greece, Egypt, Lebanon, and Iran. This gave him only one full school year in the United States, his senior year of high school. Following four years at Pennsylvania Military College, where he graduated with honors and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Regular Army, Boyd served almost 11 years in the Army. His assignments included Hawaii, Vietnam (twice), Germany, and several years in the Washington, DC area. While in the Army, he earned two Bronze Stars, the Army Commendation Medal, and several other awards. Following a military assignment to the Central Intelligence Agency, Boyd resigned from the Army and joined the CIA, serving there for 27 years. He was an analyst, a manager of analysts, and held a variety of staff positions before being selected as a student at the National War College. Following his academic year at the War College, Boyd was assigned to the Europe and NATO Policy Directorate in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy. During this assignment, Boyd wrote several papers that helped shape NATO military planning and procurement policy. In 1983, his “Emerging Technology” papers outlined what later became the cornerstone of US military planning for the use of high technology on the battlefield of today. For this, he received the Defense Achievement Medal. Later, he wrote a paper for the Secretary of Defense that improved NATO procurement and plans for what US Senator Sam Nunn called “a successful conventional defense of Europe.” Boyd was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, the second highest Defense Department award for a civilian, and a personal letter of commendation from Senator Nunn. His career took a sharp zig after the Defense Department assignment when Boyd was asked to establish a new unit in the CIA for the evaluation of advanced technology programs. This was at the height of new investments — multiple billions of dollars — in new high-tech collection systems, and the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) needed analytics-based advice regarding the merit of various projects. In 1988, Boyd was selected again for an academic program, this time at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In 1990, Boyd was recruited by the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to become the deputy director of a new organization being set up within the NRO to evaluate acquisitions and plan for the future of the nation’s spy satellite systems. Boyd served as deputy in this new unit for two years then replaced the director and served there another two years. He was presented the “Pioneer of the New NRP” award upon his return to the CIA. For most of 1994, Boyd was assigned to the DCI’s Center for the Study of Intelligence, where he wrote a book, Space Reconnaissance After the Cold War, published in classified channels. Several of the recommendations in his book subsequently became policy and one resulted in the whole scale realignment of command and control relationships between national reconnaissance and support for military operations. Then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, stated that, “This book hits the nail on the head and outlines the right course ahead.” His final job at the CIA was as director of the Programs and Policy Group, which included his former program evaluation unit plus the unit that established and monitored secrecy policy for Sensitive Compartmented Information and the release of compartmented information to allies and other foreign governments. Like his father before him, he received the Intelligence Medal of Merit as well as several Certificates of Distinction for specific projects. Boyd retired from the CIA in 1996, but came back immediately on contract to do a special job for the DCI. There was some arm - twisting involved, but how do you say “no” when the boss says, “You’re the only guy I trust to do this job?” The assignment was Boyd’s hardest – and his most disappointing. He was tasked to establish an effective, but resource – limited program for adequately monitoring what people called “the rest of the world” – or Global Coverage. This was at a time when most resources were going to the fight against global terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, drug trafficking, and the ongoing need to monitor potential adversaries in Russia, China, North Korea, and other particularly dangerous countries. Boyd established such a program, but it was not widely accepted by the Intelligence Community until a few years later. Boyd was happy to escape to Wisconsin and genuine retirement when he and Carmen returned to Carmen’s family farm on Big Dunham Lake, where they built their retirement home for themselves, two dogs, and two horses. Carmen took up landscaping and gardening and continued her trail riding, while Boyd began writing just for fun. He joined the Northwest Regional Writers and the Yarnspinner’s critique group. His first article, a humorous take on living in far northwest Wisconsin close to the Twin Cities and so far from Madison, was published in two local papers and circulated as far as Madison, eliciting comments from a number of politicians, including the lieutenant governor. In 2003, he entered and won First Place in the Florence Lindemann Humour contest sponsored by the Wisconsin Regional Writer’s Association. In 2005, he became the editor of the Wisconsin Regional Writer, a newsletter and writing outlet for members of the statewide Wisconsin Regional Writer’s Association. He took Third Place in the 2005 Al P. Nelson Feature Article Contest for his essay on Eunice Kanne, a remarkable 97-year-old fellow writer. Boyd was always proud of his service to America. He believed in God, country, family, and what he called “my people.” He always told those around him that any person’s real legacy was what he left behind in the people he knew. Boyd seldom missed his daughters’ school programs or parent-teacher conferences and, while he spent a lot of time at the office, he also made quality time with his family. He always gave extra time at work to teach those around him, believing that his own success was measured more by how well “his people” did than by the size or success of programs and projects he was responsible for. Even in retirement, Boyd believed that helping others was more important than his own success. He tried hard to support fellow writers and loved the interaction with them at least as much as the writing itself. Boyd believed that integrity was more important than any other personal characteristic, and he practiced what he preached. He was proud to hear from his son-in-law, who, upon listening to speakers at Boyd’s CIA retirement ceremony said, “I’ve never heard the word ‘integrity’ mentioned so many times in such a short time.” Boyd was surely sad to leave his wife, daughters, and grandchildren, and sad to leave so many writing projects unfinished. But he was happy to know that he always placed people first, things somewhere else. He knew that he faltered here and there, as we all do, but he always strove to give his best. Boyd wrote his own epitaph: “Here lies a man Who did his best For his God, his country, His family, and his people. He is at peace.” He is survived by Carmen Hable Sutton, his wife and best friend for the past 50 years; their two married daughters, Kirsten Sutton Harris (Tony) and Sara Sutton Reed (Wil); three granddaughters: Kate, Julia, and Allie; and two grandsons, Spencer and Ben.