Ben Pollard was born on February 27, 1932, in Shelbyville, Kentucky. He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on March 29, 1951, and served until October 6, 1952. Pollard was commissioned a 2d Lt through the Air Force ROTC program at Purdue University on July 16, 1954, and went on active duty beginning February 28, 1955. He completed Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laredo AFB, Texas, in April 1956, and F-86D Sabre upgrade training in August 1956, before serving as an Interceptor Weapons Instructor with the 3558th Combat Crew Training Squadron at Perrin AFB, Texas, from December 1956 to December 1958. Lt Pollard then served as a Flight Test Maintenance Officer with the 3555th Maintenance and Support Group, also at Perrin AFB, from December 1958 to February 1960. He received an Air Force Institute of Technology assignment to Purdue University to complete his Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering before serving as an instructor at the Air Force Academy from June 1961 to August 1966. Maj Pollard then completed F-105 Thunderchief Combat Crew Training before being assigned to the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, in February 1967. He was forced to eject over North Vietnam on May 15, 1967, and was taken as a Prisoner of War. After spending 2,120 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on March 4, 1973. Col Pollard was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Sheppard AFB, Texas, and then returned to the Air Force Academy as an instructor in August 1973, later becoming the Deputy Commandant of Military Instruction and the Commander of the Air Force Academy Preparatory School before retiring from the Air Force on July 16, 1981. Ben Pollard died on Veterans Day, November 11, 2016. Ben and his wife Joan had two children together, Mark and Ginny.
His 1st (of 2) Silver Star Citation reads:
Major Ben M. Pollard distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as an F-105 Pilot over North Vietnam on 30 April 1967. On that date, Major Pollard conducted the first night radar, low level mission against one of North Vietnam's most valuable and heavily defended railroad yards. Even under the best of conditions this mission would have been extremely difficult and dangerous. However, Major Pollard flew in the dead of night and in a single, unescorted aircraft. With complete disregard for his own safety, he continued his attack in spite of the threat of numerous missiles and through intense hostile antiaircraft fire. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Major Pollard has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.