By Maj. Matthew Fontaine (1st Security Force Assistance Brigade)February 25, 2019
FORT BENNING Ga. -- Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Bolyard served as the 3rd Squadron, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade command sergeant major until he was killed by small arms fire on Sept. 3, 2018 in Logar Province, Afghanistan.
To honor his service and sacrifice 3rd Squadron, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade dedicated their headquarters on Fort Benning to his memory, Feb. 8. The unit spent the day celebrating his life and exceptional 24-year Army career.
Lt. Col. Ian Palmer and Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Lawson, 3rd Squadron's command team, unveiled signs renaming the unit's headquarters to Bolyard Hall during a ceremony attended by 1st SFAB and Fort Benning leaders.
"To us, Command Sgt. Maj. Bolyard was human, he was humble, and he cared for everyone he met," remarked Palmer. "His time was not his time, it was your time. Your problems were his problems. But your successes were yours alone, not his."
Bolyard's wife and extended family, many traveling from West Virginia, Colorado, and Savannah, Georgia, attended the ceremony and the day's events.
"It means everything. Tim was everything that Col. Palmer spoke about. He was kind. He was humble. He was a great leader and every person that I've met since September has talked about how wonderful he was," said Bolyard's wife, Amy, when asked what the building dedication meant to her.
Bolyard Day, as the unit called it, began before sunrise with a fun, family-friendly physical training event. Soldiers wore bright yellow shirts honoring Bolyard and featuring his nickname Caveman. Palmer told the crowd he wanted the day to be a celebration of Bolyard's life and service.
Mrs. Bolyard and his extended family enjoyed events like a simulated grenade toss, duffle bag relay run, egg carry, and medical evacuation stretcher drag. The stretcher drag was a highlight for the children who giggled, screamed and laughed as they were flung around by the squadron's troopers.
A commemorative kettle bell Bolyard worked out with in Afghanistan was awarded to Brave Troop, 3rd Squadron, for having the most enthusiasm during the friendly competition.
Fort Benning's Survivor Outreach Services also memorialized Bolyard in their Hall of Heroes, a memorial to honor Fort Benning's fallen Soldiers. "Today's ceremony is but a small gesture and measure to help us all cope with this tremendous loss. This memorial exists so you know that the Fort Benning community will never forget your loved one," said Brig. Gen. Scott Jackson, commander of 1st SFAB.
The day concluded with a dinner in Bolyard's honor. Command Sgt. Maj. Gunn, 1st SFAB's command sergeant major, drew laughter and tears as he talked about his friendship with Bolyard and how Gunn learned from him even though he was supposed to be the senior leader imparting wisdom upon Bolyard.
In a series of touching moments, 3rd Squadron gave tokens of appreciation to Bolyard's family.
Palmer presented Bolyard's son Preston with his father's combat spurs from the deployment. Gold spurs, an homage to the cavalry's horse riding history, are awarded to cavalrymen for a combat deployment as a sign of their experience and expertise.
Amy Bolyard, surrounded by Order of St. George inductees, received Bolyard's Order of St. George (Silver Medallion). Moments later, surrounded by squadron wives, Palmer awarded her the Order of St. Joan D'Arc.
The U.S. Cavalry and Armor Association established the Order of St. George to recognize the very best non-commissioned and commissioned officer cavalrymen in the U.S. Army, and the Order of St. Joan D'Arc to honor Soldier's spouses who exemplify the spirit of Saint Joan D'Arc and significantly contribute to the morale, spirit, and welfare of the Armor and Cavalry community.
The Rachel Lipsky Band performed for Bolyard and the 3rd Squadron at Camp Dahlke in Afghanistan during a USO tour and again at the dinner honoring Bolyard.
Bolyard made a strong impression on the band during their visit to Afghanistan. Heartbroken at the news of his death, the band jumped at the chance to honor Bolyard and his family with a performance. Palmer, an aspiring guitarist, joined the band to play John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads in honor of Bolyard's love for his West Virginia home.
Bolyard Day was a fitting tribute to the unit's beloved leader and his family. 3rd Squadron plans to make Bolyard Day an annual event to honor his memory, teach new Soldiers about his dedicated leadership, and remember his Family's sacrifice.
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About 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade
On order, 1st SFAB deploys and integrates with foreign partner forces to assess, support, advise, and liaise local security operations to build partner security capacity and capability, and achieve regional security in support of U.S. national interests. The brigade provides Geographic Combatant Commanders with master tacticians who train, advise, and assist partnered foreign security forces and serve as the cadre for a rapidly expanding Army in the event of a large contingency operation.