An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Aviation Resource Manager turned Medic reflects on one year since OAR

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ryan Hayman
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

This month marks the one-year anniversary of Operation Allies Refuge and Allies Welcome, the largest Non-combatant Evacuation Airlift Operation in U.S. history from August 14-30, 2021.

The total force operation involved more than 500 active duty, Reserve and National Guard aircrews flying missions around the clock to evacuate more than 124,000 people.

Tech. Sgt. James Pollard, 28th Bomb Squadron NCO in charge of aviation resource management was one of the service members supporting OAR. Traditionally an ARM troop (1C0X2), Pollard arrived at the 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron in 2021 where he received medical training and played an essential role in building medical kits for in-flight treatments at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

"Every medical technician and member with a clinical medical background was utilized," he said. "It was a real world operation and we accomplished what we had been trained for in a worst-case scenario."

From his perspective, the Afghans welcomed military assistance bringing them to the aircraft during the evacuations. Once they landed the focus became providing medical care and taking care of those in need.

"The most difficult thing that we battled was the culture shock; everything was outside their cultural norm. The Afghans just went through trauma, stress and an unfortunate amount of death," said Tech. Sgt. Pollard. "We did what we could to accommodate them by setting up an area for their prayers, providing food, clothing and other cultural accommodations."

During the evacuation, Airmen would care for and process the Afghans at a variety of locations before they were welcomed by Airmen and representatives from over 200 interagency, joint and coalition partners at Ramstein.

Both operations followed America's commitment to the Afghan people who worked alongside and helped the U.S. for over two decades in Afghanistan.

"This was a true testament of America's capabilities, the number of lives we saved and the number of lives we were able to help," said Pollard.

Through all of Tech. Sgt. Pollard's efforts, he earned the Humanitarian Service Medal and 2021 NCO of the Year Award at both the group and AFSC levels.

Now, Pollard supports the only B-1 Flight Training Unit at the 28th Bomb Squadron SARM flight.

“We are excited to have Tech. Sgt. Pollard in the Mohawks. His experience as a multi-capable Airman is exactly the mindset we are striving towards in the 7th Bomb Wing," said Lt. Col. Kristen Jenkins, 28th BS commander. “He is a dedicated and passionate NCO who can look at problems differently and work towards a common goal.  This experience will help him train more Airmen that can adapt and perform when needed in varying environments, which essential to Bomber Task Force Operations.”