POLLARD, BEN M.
Name: Ben M. Pollard
Rank/Branch: O3/United States Air Force
In 2001 The DoD corrected the PMSEA to reflect Pollard's real rank at
shootdown - an O4.
Unit: 80th TFS
Date of Birth: 27 February 1932
Home City of Record: Shelbeyville KY
Date of Loss: 15 May 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 212900 North 1063000 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Other Personnel in Incident: Donald Heilinger, returnee, pilot
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK April 1997 from one or more of the
following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with
POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated 05/2017
REMARKS: 730304 RELEASED BY DRV
Donald Heiliger was the pilot and Lt. Col. Ben Pollard the "GIB" when they
were shot down on May 15, 1967. They were flying as part of "Ryan's Raiders"
out of Korat.
They were flying a night low level bombing run on railroad marshalling yards
30 miles northeast of Hanoi. Either small arms or light AAA set the plane
afire. They ejected safely. Heiliger received minimum rib and leg injuries
when his parachute caught in a tree. Pollard received many cuts and bruises,
and initially was paralyzed from the waist down from back injuries. They
were both taken prisoner separately, but met on the way to Hanoi.
Once in captivity, Pollard spent two weeks in Heartbreak, fourteen months in
Desert Inn, Little Las Vegas, two years in Sontay, six more months in
Heartbreak, one month in Riviera-Little Las Vegas, and then two years three
months in Camp Unity - Hilton. He was tortured while in Cell #18 of New Guy
Donald Heiliger was released on February 18, 1973, Pollard on March 4th.
Pollard was awarded the Silver Star with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Legion of Merit
with 1 OLC, Bronze Star with Valor with 1 OLC, Meritorious Service Medal,
Air Medal, Purple Heart with 1 OLC and the P.O.W. Medal.
Ben Pollard was medically retired from the United States Air Force as a
Colonel after more than 26 years of outstanding service. He helped start a
long-distance telephone service, selling out after 4 years. He now teaches
and repairs computers. He and his wife have traveled extensively. He enjoys
skiing, sailplanes, gardening and overseas travel. He and Joan have 2
children and 4 grandchildren. They reside in California.
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From Joan Pollard via BB:
Dear Bob, I'm sorry that I must tell you that Ben passed away on Friday, Veterans Day. As you probably know, he has had a bad heart for many years -
7 bypasses in 1982, as well as an assortment of medical problems. This year was a tough year. He fell in January and broke his hip but the screws
they put in didn't work so they had to do it again in June with a real hip.
Anyway, he never could get up to par. Our first granddaughter, Mark's Rachel, was getting married on Oct. 29 and he was absolutely determined to
make that wedding. He did make it, just two weeks ago, but couldn't make more. He refused extraordinary measures and we were able to say
our farewells and he was content and at peace at the end.
I have not been able to contact the church here because of the holiday but we hope to have a Memorial Service the weekend of Dec 3. I'll let
you know when I know.
If you would, please get the word out to the NAMPOW guys.
My best, Joan
Funeral; Friday, Dec 2, at 10:30am, Rancho Bernardo Community
Ben Pollard, RIP
Ben will be buried at the USAFA May 12, 2017. This is unusual
because only AFA grads qualify to be buried there. There are a few