Maybe looking back you'd do things differently, but that's not how it works. In the field, you hesitate; You or someone you care about will die. They teach that from day one... You don't come out of a tour of duty without regrets.
Born in 2255, Craig Boone joined the New California Republic Army at an unknown date and served until some time after the Bitter Springs Massacre. He completed the majority of his Army service with the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, an infantry unit which has a reputation for having the best marksmen in the NCR Army.
In 2278, Boone was present with the rest of 1st Recon at the Bitter Springs Massacre. At the direction of the major in command, an NCR Army force surrounded Bitter Springs and took up positions to ensure no one could leave. The Great Khans occupying Bitter Springs were not the well-armed force of raiders and warriors that major had anticipated, however; instead many of the Khans were non-combatants: women, children, the elderly, the wounded and the sick. Confused about what to do, NCR troops nonetheless opened fire. Then-Captain Dhatri, the second-in-command of the NCR force, took command after the major froze up, and did what he could to stop the killings. Bad planning and poor communication from up top, in Boone's view, caused the massacre. Some time after Bitter Springs, Boone was discharged from the NCR Army, but not before meeting Carla while on leave. Carla was the only thing in the world who made him feel calm and happy in life. When he listened to her, she made him forget about everything he did in the military. He left the military, married Carla, and moved to Novac at the invitation of his 1st Recon friend, Manny Vargas. Jeannie May Crawford describes Carla as a "cactus flower": pretty to look at, but hard to get close to. She was never content with the ordinary life of the small town. Carla's attitude toward the town caused distance between Boone and Manny, which continued after Carla's disappearance. She had been kidnapped by the Legion, and Boone suspected she was betrayed by one of the townsfolk.
When the Courier first meets him, Boone is bitterly whiling away the hours until he can find out who is responsible for the disappearance of his wife, Carla and kill them. Hardened and psychologically troubled from his time in the NCR military, Boone vacillates between being a stone-cold killer and a decent human being. Venturing out from the relative safety of Novac brings Boone into close contact with his old life until he is forced to deal with the tragic events that caused him to leave the military.
When she was kidnapped, he tracked the slaving party to Cottonwood Cove in hopes of rescuing her, only to find her being auctioned off with hundreds of other slaves to Legion soldiers. All Boone had was his rifle and the distance between them. Instead of subjecting her to the horrors of Legion slavery, he chose to take her life in a mercy killing, due to him only having one bullet left. As a result of the psychological trauma Boone endured, he has become suicidal; he has no goal, purpose, or desire in life but to slaughter Legionaries (preferably by assisting with cranial perforation) until the Legion finally catches up to him.
Craig Boone, despite being out of the NCR military, is still an NCR soldier at heart; he refuses to work with a terrorist against the NCR and will not tolerate the Courier working with Caesar's Legion. In fact, if the Courier enters the Fort with Boone, all Legion members will become immediately hostile, regardless of the one's previous standing with them.
If one has Boone kill Manny Vargas during One for My Baby and pass a Speech check to convince him that Manny was guilty, he will tell the Courier to "Never say that name again." when asked about Vargas again.
If one arranges for Boone to kill someone who is "responsible" for the death of his wife, he'll later ask you what gave them away. If the Courier responds with "I had a hunch," he will be hostile towards them and won't talk to them anymore. He will also do this if the Courier tells him that Jeannie May Crawford's story "just didn't add up" and then fail the Speech check.
If Boone kills someone during the aforementioned quest and then the player character tells him that they just wanted him to kill the assigned target, he will immediately turn hostile and attack.
If the player character has not yet recruited Boone, he will refuse to speak to them if their overall NCR reputation is significantly below neutral, or if they have significant positive reputation with Caesar's Legion. The reputation can be temporarily swayed by wearing any NCR armor, enabling that faction's relations and reputation. Though, ironically, Caesar's Legion armor (or any other faction armor) works just as well.
Gaining NCR infamy with Boone as a companion will cause him to demand that "this stops now." One has the option of attacking Boone, or persuading him to stand down and agree with him on stopping the killings. Afterward, if the player character again kills NCR troops, with Boone following them, he will immediately turn hostile.
Sneak killing NCR soldiers in Boone's presence without being seen by other non-companion NPCs won't cause this.
If asked if he ever takes off his beret, he will say "No."
If the player character takes his beret, Boone says "I would really like my beret back, please." However, not returning it causes no significant results. Oddly enough, he will still say this even if it is traded back to him before closing the inventory window.
If the player character enters Boone's hotel room after sending him back to Novac, Boone says "You need to leave." However, staying in the room or stealing items while being noticed by Boone causes no hostility, but one will still lose Karma.
If the Courier travels near Cottonwood Cove or Nelson with Boone, he will mention his grudge against the Legion and the option will be given to continue on with him or not.
When near the boat in Cottonwood Cove, Boone will say that this would "probably be the last boat you take."
After killing Caesar, Boone will say, "Thumbs-down, you son of a bitch!", in reference to the gladiatorial games. He will also talk about the kill next time the player character speaks to him.
Tired of waiting for the world to be done with him, Boone ventured into the wastes to make his own way out. Unable to clear his mind of the past, he was at last granted the death he'd awaited, bringing final rest to a life that had ended long ago.
As the Battle of Hoover Dam ended, Boone confirmed what he had always suspected - that revenge would never quiet his troubled mind. Side arm in hand, he journeyed back to California in search of the NCR officer who had led the attack on Bitter Springs. There, with only two bullets loaded, Boone did the only thing he believed would put an end to his suffering.
Looking for a place where he could be of some use, Boone found himself re-enlisting with his old unit. Though his regrets remained in his thoughts, they coalesced into a purpose, and Boone embraced it. He spent his leave time hunting down slavers in the desert, his First Reconberet the last thing they never saw.
Complete Eureka! for the NCR; complete I Forgot to Remember to Forget by convincing Boone to make amends over Bitter Springs.
Though NCR was withdrawing from the region, Boone remained in New Vegas, finding work as a security guard and caravan scout along the highways. While he might've preferred rejoining his old unit, Boone couldn't bring himself to abandon the city where he'd met his wife.
Boone refused to take the Legion's victory lying down. Heading to the hills with his rifle, he began a deadly campaign against high-ranking Legion officers. And though the price on his head rose to levels unheard of, few pursued it, fearing it would be the last thing they'd never see.
No longer held in check by his conscience, Boone found lucrative work as a mercenary and assassin. No job was too violent, no target too innocent. As long as the caps were good, Boone would take the job.
Driven mad by Caesar's victory at Hoover Dam, and unable to escape his memories, Boone staged a suicide mission against the Legate. Fighting as he wished he would've fought on the day of his wife's death, he brought down scores of Legionaries before being caught. Before his crucifixion, he was brought before the Legate, who expressed his admiration for Boone's reckless abandon. Boone spat tobacco in his eye, for all of Caesar's armies to see.
Boone is automatically hostile to any Legion faction members. Likewise, Legion members are always hostile to Boone, as well as to the Courier while Boone is serving as a companion. This only applies if the Legion can see him, however; if told to wait out of sight, Legion members will not turn hostile.
Boone will not talk to the Courier if they are "shunned" or worse by the NCR unless the Courier is wearing NCR gear that turns their apparent reputation to neutral. Once recruited, Boone will follow unless the Courier puts on Legion gear.
Boone will return to Novac after a few days if "lost."
The 1st Recon are known throughout the wastes. When Boone is a companion:
NCR soldiers and 1st Recon Sharpshooters say "Wish I had a 1st Recon guy looking after me..." or "That red beret's looking good, soldier."
Some NPCs will incorrectly refer to Boone as a Ranger, such as one NCR trooper in the Las Vegas Boulevard Station, who will regard Boone incorrectly as a ranger but also "fine company", or "NCR Rangers deserve all my praise".
Boone has unique comments for a variety of game locations and situations:
Boone will say "I need a bigger caliber" or "I'm not punching through" if his weapons aren't getting through the enemy's armor DT.
When the Courier shoots while not engaged with a target, he'll say, "Let me aim that for you next time." This comment can occur when attacking a target at long range, even if the Courier hits it, which is ironic, since Boone is supposedly spotting the target.
When entering the REPCONN test site basement with Boone for the first time, he will mention that it's "dark here" and that if you plan on using a weapon with a scope, he was trained as a spotter, and he could help you find your targets.
When freeing NCR soldiers at Nelson from the crucifixes during the quest Restoring Hope, Boone remarks "Mercy killing is a last resort. Glad you recognized we had options." If the player speaks with Boone after this, he will go more in depth about how he was told to kill NCR troops on crucifixes as a "mercy killing" when he was still part of the NCR 1st Recon. He laments that "sometimes following orders is what kills men."
Mortimer will comment on Boone being in good shape and looking healthy, while insulting Boone as being a little gamey and rugged, when offering to sacrifice him to Mortimer during Beyond the Beef.
After wiping out the Legion at Cottonwood Cove, Boone will say, "Wish there was more of them, I wasn't done yet."
After killing Oscar Velasco, Boone will say, "Great Khan looks like. Guess he fought at Bitter Springs, or saw it happen."
Boone will give the Courier one warning before leaving permanently (similar to when Caesar sends Vulpes Inculta to the Strip to wipe your infamy slate clean) if they work with the Legion and gain a positive reputation with them. Even leaving Boone in the Lucky 38 presidential suite will still cause him to leave, if enough Legion quests have been done and fame acquired; as speaking to him will trigger the warning and his choice to leave upon speaking again. If one elects to follow the Legion path through the end it will be impossible to take Boone to the battle at Hoover Dam.
At the Bitter Springs supply cave visited in Climb Ev'ry Mountain inhabited by the Great Khan, Oscar Velasco, Oscar will attack the Courier after shouting "Die NCR Scum!" if Boone is their companion. The Courier must make Boone wait outside the cave if they do not want to kill Oscar.
If the Courier chooses not to tell The King about the messenger during the quest G.I. Blues, Boone will sometimes attack the missionaries. The Courier will not lose him as a companion or even get a warning.
Before completing I Forgot to Remember to Forget, where afterwards he obtains permanent armor, Boone is the only companion whose clothes are an actual item that can be removed. As such, he can be made to wear any type of clothing or armor (barring most faction armor) before completing said quest.
Although Boone claims to never remove his signature beret, he does so by giving it to the Courier when finding the culprit for his wife's slavery. Furthermore, he may swap it out for another headset if a suitable helmet is placed into his inventory.
Boone and Dean Domino are the only companions who allow their clothes to be taken.
"Maybe looking back you'd do things differently, but that's not how it works. In the field, you hesitate, you or someone you care about will die. They teach that from day one. [...] You don't come out of a tour of duty without regrets."
pcps3xbox360 After applying patch 22.214.171.124x Boone may no longer move his head to track nearby targets, and will holster his weapon while in combat approximately every five seconds. This error is caused by a code added to his main dialogue script, which causes him to re-evaluate his current AI package every five seconds. [verified]
pcxbox360 Due to a glitch regarding armor stats, every time Boone switches equipment, the PER bonus from his beret gets added again and again, which leads to Boone having over 10 Perception. This can be reset by taking his beret away, and then giving it back to him. [verified]
ps3pcxbox360 If the player takes Boone's beret, then give it back to him, it may disappear from his inventory. If you give him the one remaining in your inventory, it will disappear upon transfer. [verified]
pcxbox360 This can be done by giving to him any apparel does not allow face or headgear. As such, he'll also take his sunglasses off. [verified]
pcps3xbox360 Boone seems to occasionally switch to melee (or if unavailable, unarmed) without prompt. This can be fixed by changing his combat style to melee in the companion wheel, and then back to ranged. [verified]
ps3xbox360 If you fast travel after earning enough history points to unlock the quest I Forgot to Remember to Forget, but before Boone asks you to return to Bitter Springs with him, Boone will not fast travel with you. You may correct this by loading the auto-save file if you have not changed the game's default auto-save settings. [verified]
ps3xbox360 If Boone has NCR faction armor AND a better set of armor in his inventory, he will sometimes switch between them for seemingly no reason. [verified]
ps3pcxbox360 If Boone is a companion and you part ways with him, say to meet up at the Lucky 38, and eventually accept him as a companion again, he will repeatedly talk to you without prompt. On the Xbox 360, he won't leave the Presidential Suite either, and fast traveling also causes him to disappear from the game permanently. This can be fixed only by going to The Fort and killing Caesar, although Boone will not appear. Upon killing Caesar, fast traveling to Cottonwood Cove will fix the glitch, provided there are enemies nearby. [verified]
This may be caused by firing Boone and then gaining some fame with the Legion (to being Accepted, or a mostly positive mixed reputation) and then rehiring Boone seems to cause this bug.
pc After a fight Boone may get stuck at reloading his weapon endlessly and not following you any more. Let him switch to melee and back to ranged gets him out of that loop. Yet only confirmed for PC, happened after fast traveling to Nevada Highway Patrol station and fighting 10+ Jackal gang members. [verified]
xbox360 You can fix this bug by closing out of the game or turning off your console then back on.
xbox360 Sometimes when giving Boone a pair of authority glasses they turn out misshapen on his face. His rifle also will glitch out, and either disappear off his back or be inside of him. This also causes him to switch equipment. This can be fixed by taking the glasses, completely leaving the companion wheel, then going back and giving them back. [verified]
xbox360 If Boone is a companion while using the Mark of Caesar to boat your way to The Fort Boone may appear on the dock next to you even if asked to wait far away. He will spawn in water therefore unable to fight the boat guard. [verified]
ps3 If Boone is wearing gear that the player has given him, and then receives another set of apparel (not necessarily better than his current armor) he may remove his sunglasses and beret despite them being the only headwear he has. [verified]
xbox360pc Sometimes during combat, Boone will randomly stop attacking enemies and will turn around. Then he will run in a specific direction, not stopping unless if he runs into a wall. To counter-act this, the player must catch up with him to open dialog. tell him to keep his distance, and then tell him to keep close again. [verified]
pcxbox360 If you give him armor like radiation suit, he will remove his headgear, but he won't wear the suit. [verified]
pc If Boone is following you and you are accepted with the Legion, Boone will comment on it. Afterwards he will talk to you every 10 seconds, even if you did not engage him in conversation. [verified]
xbox360 Sometimes, when the player enters the Ultra-Luxe, gives up his weapons and then steals them back from the locker, Boone will lose his rifle for the rest of the game. [verified]
ps3pc Sometimes, the weapons you give to Boone may disappear after exiting a casino. [verified]