Great Grad: Pamela Boyd ’79
From Arkansas Classroom to Intelligence Floor – A true patriot, Pamela Boyd is proud to don her naval uniform as a reservist, but she also supports U.S. military operations as a civilian in a round-the-clock situational intelligence watch floor at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
Now a senior staff officer with DIA at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., Boyd had humble beginnings as an “Air Force brat” from Jacksonville.
Her 1979 UALR bachelor′s degree in political science gave her a foothold for her career. She also served in Student Government and was a student of political science professor Joel E. Anderson, now UALR Chancellor. Boyd went on to get a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in international studies.
Her expertise in training, leadership, and organizing initially began while teaching high school, first in Jonesboro in 1984, then in Little Rock until 1990. She was a Fulbright Scholar who did her overseas work in Sierra Leone, West Africa.
Then she decided to take a different direction.
A single parent, Boyd said her son needed to “know about patriotism,” so she followed in her father’s military footsteps and joined the reserves, going into active duty with various assignments in Spokane, Honolulu, and Washington, D.C.
At Hawaii’s Camp Smith, Boyd coordinated war gaming scenarios, earning a Defense Meritorious Service Medal. At Andrews Air Force Base in the nation’s capital, she planned anti-terrorism training for naval reservists and instructed active duty and reserve members headed to the Middle East and eastern Europe. For her service, she was awarded a Navy Commendation Medal.
Although Boyd left active duty in 2000, she was swiftly mobilized to the DIA in the wake of 9/11.
During Operation Enduring Freedom, Boyd provided analytical support on potential terrorists and recruited analysts to work in Washington, D.C., Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo. Her efforts working with all four services on manpower and budgeting issues at the Pentagon during aggressive mobilization earned her a Joint Staff Badge. She then took a reserve liaison officer position utilizing her personnel leadership skills. These tours garnered two Joint Commendation Medals, as well as the Government War on Terrorism medal.
As senior watch officer at the Combined Media Processing Center in Qatar, she dealt with exploitation of captured communication from Iraq and managed more than 900 people responding to intelligence information requests from such entities as the Office of the Secretary of Defense. She was recognized with a Civilian Expeditionary Medal and National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation signed by the director of National Intelligence.
In 2006, Boyd served as a mission commander overseeing intelligence human resources operations and continues as senior staff officer for the Global Intelligence Operations Center.
With just a one-year commitment to the Navy Reserve left and three years at DIA, Boyd is considering her next move — a doctorate. Her son lives in Jacksonville, and she has two sisters in Fayetteville, so she may return to her home state.
The credentialed officer says she’s proud to serve her country. “The war in Iraq has been going on for five years, and all you hear is criticism. Should we have gone in? I don’t have the magic answer. It seems all you hear about is death. You don’t hear the positive things going on, like the rebuilding of the infrastructure, new schools, a constitution where they can now elect their leaders instead of living under a tyranny. Regardless of how you feel about us being over there, we must support our military,” Boyd says.
The UALR alumna, currently of Alexandria, Va., attended the University’s Alumni Association holiday reception at the home of Ambassador Koby Koomson, one of her 1979 classmates, with her fiancé, Timothy Shields. She wants to keep involved with her alma mater: “If I did not have my bachelor’s degree, I could never have been a Navy officer.”