MORGANTOWN — Flags were flown at half staff throughout West Virginia Wednesday in honor of the life and service of U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Allen Bolyard.
A native of Grafton, Bolyard was serving his seventh tour of duty, serving in Logar Province, Afghanistan, as part of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, when he was killed in the line of duty.
According to Stars and Stripes reporter J.P. Lawrence, who is on the ground in Kabul, Afghanistan, the attack occurred around 12:30 p.m. Monday during a security meeting at an Afghan National Army Base in Logar Province, which is just south of Kabul.
The meeting was between Afghan security officials, policemen, Afghan military officers and the U.S. military advisers who are training and assisting the Afghan military, Lawrence said.
“After that meeting ended, right around lunch time, a policeman opened fire,” he said. “The Afghan officials say that he hit Command Sgt. Maj. Bolyard in the back and that the people had been arrested after they tried to flee.”
Lawrence said a memorial has not yet been held in Afghanistan.
“But I’ve been talking to a couple of the people who have served under him and they all are very, very sad and are mourning this soldier,” he said.
The Department of Defense is reporting the death as an insider attack, which Lawrence said is a continuing danger in Afghanistan.
“Especially as there are fewer and fewer American troops on the ground,” he said. “There was another insider attack with that same unit about two months ago.”
Now, there is a program that assigns military personnel an escort when there is Afghan personnel at an U.S. military base.
“Again, this is an existential threat for the idea of training and advising Afghan military because if you can’t trust them to not shoot you in the back, how can you be able to be close enough to give the advice and training on how to do tactics and security strategy lessons,” Lawrence said.
Bolyard, who began his service in 1994, was a highly decorated soldier. He was a six-time recipient of the Bronze Star. Two of the awards were for valor, “which occurs during the line of duty,” Lawrence said.
“Talking to soldiers that served under him, they talked about how he always knew the right thing to say, he always was thinking of his soldiers,” he said. “He didn’t have a temper, which is what a couple of the people told me. They liked that when he needed to say something, he could do so in a way that made everyone feel like they were on the right side of things.”