Friday, October 09, 2009

Marine Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Taylor

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Taylor, 27, of Bovey, Minn.

SSgt. Taylor was assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 372, Marine Wing Support Group 37, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died Oct. 9, 2009 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Lake County News Chronicle -- The cost of the global war on terrorism has hit home hard.

Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Aaron James Taylor, 27, who graduated from Greenway High School in Coleraine with parents in rural Two Harbors, and Spc. George W. Cauley, 24, assigned to the Minnesota Army National Guard in Duluth, are two of the latest casualties of the war in Afghanistan.

Three Marines showed up at the door of Clifford and Cindy Taylor’s Two Harbors home last Friday with the message no parent of a military member wants to hear.

They were notified that Clifford’s son was killed earlier Friday in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.

“They just told me that he was hit by an IED [improvised explosive device] while he was on foot patrol,” Clifford Taylor said Monday.

Staff Sgt. Taylor, formerly of Bovey, was patrolling the Helmand Province in southwestern Afghanistan, the world’s largest opium-producing region and the scene of fighting between NATO forces and the Taliban.

“He was totally dedicated to the Marine Corps,” his father said. “He loved his job. He was very ambitious and he was respected by his peers and his superiors.”

Staff Sgt. Taylor was based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and had been in Afghanistan about six weeks, his father said. His job was explosive ordnance disposal. He had already served a tour of duty in Iraq.

Clifford Taylor said his son was a 2000 graduate of Greenway High School in Coleraine, where he was manager of the hockey team, wrestled, and participated in the pep, jazz and concert bands, as well as drama.

“He was very hardworking, very respectful,” said Greenway band director Sander Grotjohn. “He was a really good trumpet player, a nice kid, a good student and a real joy to have in the band.”

Clifford Taylor said he talked to his son about a week ago by phone. “At that time he was telling me that ‘we are doing good things over here,’ ” he said, adding that his son felt he was making a difference.

Taylor’s mother, Briana Anderson of Bovey, called her son “softhearted, imaginative” and “kind.”

She said when he left for the Marines “he left a boy and came back a man.”

Aaron Taylor had been in the Marines for eight years and had been in Afghanistan for about six weeks. He also had served a tour of duty in Iraq, his father said. They last spoke a week ago.

“He was telling me that they were doing good things over there,” Clifford Taylor said. “They had built some schools. He was new to the unit when he came on board, but they say that everybody just liked him and they were all glad to work with him. And he was very proud to be serving with this group of men. They all knew their jobs and they were professionals all the way.”

Aaron Taylor was based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and recently bought a house in Temecula, Calif., near the base, his father said.

“He had spontaneous wit and was a very caring individual,” Clifford Taylor said of his son. “Very intelligent. His goal was to be promoted to gunnery sergeant before his third enlistment. I think he would have made it. It’s tough to do.”

Aaron Taylor’s body was flown to Dover Air Force base in Delaware on Monday. Funeral arrangements were pending.

Staff Sgt. Taylor is also survived by his brother, Kyle, 21, a junior at the University of Minnesota Duluth; his girlfriend, Stephanie Jacobowitz of California; his half-sister, Bailey; and his special adopted family, the Zidariches of Grand Rapids: Mike, Ella, Becky and Shannon.

Marine Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Taylor was killed in action on 10/09/09.

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