Soldier Killed in Insider Attack Was SFAB Command Sergeant Major

Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy A. Bolyard. (Facebook)
Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy A. Bolyard. (Facebook)

The soldier killed in an insider attack in Afghanistan Monday has been identified by the Pentagon as Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Bolyard, a combat veteran of 13 deployments and the highest-ranking, non-commissioned officer in a special unit formed to work closely with the Afghan security forces.

Bolyard, 42, of Thornton, West Virginia, was serving with the 1st Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, which was part of the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) out of Fort Benning, Georgia.

The concept for the SFAB grew out of the new conditions-based strategy approved by President Donald Trump in August 2017.

Under the plan, the SFAB was to take over much of the train, advise and assist mission in close coordination on the front lines with the Afghan National Defense Security Forces.

The purpose was to free up Brigade Combat Teams and Special Forces for the fight against the Taliban and the ISIS offshoot known as Islamic State-Khorasan Province, or ISIS-K.

In August, Reuters quoted Bolyard as saying that the main problem the SFAB was having in the mission was in logistics and re-supply for the Afghan troops.

"Every kandak (battalion) we go to, regardless of where they're located, they all have major sustainment issues," Bolyard said.

Newsweek reported that Bolyard sustained fatal wounds and a second U.S. soldier was wounded when a member of the Afghan National Police opened fire on them in a "green on blue" insider attack, in which a member of the Afghan security forces, on an infiltrator posing as one, attacks coalition personnel.

The wounded U.S. soldier was reported in stable condition after the incident, which occurred in eastern Logar province south of Kabul at a forward operating base, Stars and Stripes reported.

A second U.S. service member died in eastern Afghanistan Tuesday in what officials called a non-combat incident, according to the NATO Resolute Support Mission.

A total of seven U.S. service members have died in Afghanistan this year, two of them from insider attacks.

Army Cpl. Joseph Maciel, 20, of South Gate, California, was killed and two other U.S. service members were wounded in an apparent insider attack in the Tarin Kowt district of Afghanistan's southcentral Uruzgan province in July.

Maciel was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Bolyard joined the Army in 1994 and in his career was the recipient of six awards of the Bronze Star, two of them with combat "V" device.

The Army said his other awards and decorations included four Meritorious Service Medals, six Army Commendation Medals, nine Army Achievement Medals, the Iraq Campaign Medal with four Campaign Stars, the Kosovo Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star and the Combat Action Badge.

The deaths of Bolyard and the second as yet unidentified service member occurred in quick succession following the change of command ceremony in Kabul Sunday in which Army Gen. Scott Miller, a career Special Operations officer, took charge of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and the NATO Resolute Support mission from Army Gen. John Nicholson, who held the post for 30 months.

In a taunting Twitter message, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban's spokesman, said that "Gen. Miller shall be witness to a series of failures and disappointments, just like Gen. Nicholson."

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

 

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