North Ogden Mayor Killed While Serving in Afghanistan
NORTH OGDEN CITY, Utah – North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor was killed Saturday morning while serving with the Utah National Guard in Afghanistan. City Council member Phil Swanson first posted the news to Facebook Saturday and tributes began to pour in.
“I am heartbroken at the news that we lost one of our own today in Afghanistan and feel completely by the service and ultimate sacrifice offered by this brave and selfless soldier,” Utah Governor Gary Herbert wrote. “The entire Herbert family mourns with this soldier’s family and we pray that their burdens may be lifted, and that the hearts of all Utahns will reach out to comfort them in their grief,”
“Brent was a hero, a patriot, a wonderful father, and a dear friend. News of his death in Afghanistan is devastating. My prayers and love are with Jennie and his 7 young children. His service will always be remembered,” Utah Senator Orrin Hatch tweeted.
“I hate this. I’m struggling for words,” Utah Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox tweeted. “I love Mayor Taylor, his amazing wife Jennie and his 7 sweet kids. Utah weeps for them today. This war has once again cost us the best blood of a generation. We must rally around his family. Thank you for your sacrifice my friend,”
Taylor was in his second term as North Ogden mayor when he took temporary military leave to deploy to Afghanistan. It was his fourth deployment. Taylor had previously served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He joined the Utah National Guard after 9/11 because he said he wanted to fight terrorism.
Reuters reported the incident was an insider attack. They reported the attacker was a member of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. They reported another person was injured in the attack and that other Afghan forces killed the attacker immediately.
People who knew Taylor said the same principles that guided him as a soldier also made him a good leader at home.
“If there was some injustice going on, I knew that Brent was going to be there. He was going to work on it. He’d take it straight ahead,” said close friend Toby Mileski.
Taylor kept friends and family in Utah up to date on what he was doing in Afghanistan through Facebook, posting pictures when he could. His final post was on October 28, describing how he felt seeing Afghans vote in their election.
“It was beautiful to see over 4 million Afghan men and women brave threats and deadly attacks to vote in Afghanistan’s first parliamentary elections in eight years,” Taylor wrote. “The strong turnout, despite the attacks and challenges, was a success for the long-suffering people of Afghanistan and for the cause of human freedom. I am proud of the brave Afghan and US soldiers I serve with. Many American, NATO allies, and Afghan troops have died to make moments like this possible; for example, my dear friend Lieutenant Kefayatullah who was killed fighting the Taliban the day before voting began,”
Taylor said he hoped people back home in the United States would exercise that same right.
“As the USA gets ready to vote in our own election next week, I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote,” Taylor wrote. “And that whether the Republicans or the Democrats win, that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us. ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’ God Bless America,”
Taylor had a wife and seven children. Friends of the family organized an online fundraiser (https://www.gofundme.com/2zytgj-brent-taylor-and-family).
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