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Benning soldier dies of gunfire from apparent insider attack in Afghanistan

Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Bolyard \
Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Bolyard \

A Fort Benning soldier assigned to the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade died Monday of wounds sustained during an attack in Logar Province, Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced Tuesday.

Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Allen Bolyard, 42, of Thornton, West Virginia, died of small arms fire in an apparent insider attack while supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel as a member of the 3rd Squadron, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade. The shooting remains under investigation.

Brig. Gen. Mark H. Landes, commanding general of the Security Force Assistance Command, said he’s deeply saddened by the loss of Bolyard.

“His selflessness and dedication to his country and fellow soldiers always will be remembered,” he said. “The Bolyard Family is in our prayers as we make every effort to honor them in memory of his ultimate sacrifice.”

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Scott Jackson, commander of the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, said Bolyard was an outstanding, caring leader and his loss is immeasurable.

“We will honor his legacy and care for his family as we remember that he died doing what he loved, surrounded by the soldiers he loved,” Jackson said.

Preston Bolyard, identified as the sergeant major’s son in a Tuesday Facebook post, told how the death has changed his life after two soldiers talked to the family.

“The news doesn’t feel real whatsoever,” he said. “He was an amazing man. A great father, husband, and friend to many people. My dad is definitely my hero.”

The son said words cannot explain his love and the hurt in losing his father.

“He was less than two months away from being home then thinking about retirement,” he said. “ Thank you for your service Dad. You will never be forgotten.”

Bolyard was on his seventh deployment after previous combat assignments in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and Albania. He was an armor and cavalry scout senior sergeant, serving as the squadron command sergeant major. Entering the U.S. Army in June 1994, he had 24 years of service. Bolyard arrived for his most recent assignment at Fort Benning in July 2017.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with four Campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal Kosovo Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, United Nations Medal NATO Medal, Valorous Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Superior Unit Award and Combat Action Badge.

Bolyard is believed to be the second soldier from 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Benning to die in Afghanistan from wounds suffered in an apparent insider attack. Maciel of South Gate, Calif., died July 7 in the Tarin Kowt district, Uruzgan Province. He was part of the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade established earlier this year. The unit immediately deployed to Afghanistan to train Afghan security forces.