Univ. Of Utah Honors Veterans For Service

Nov 9, 2018, 8:32 PM | Updated: 10:40 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah honored 11 Utah military veterans as part of its annual Veterans Day commemoration. The veterans’ service spanned from World War II to the war in Afghanistan.

All were mindful of the dangers for Utah troops still fighting in combat zones today. Many veterans at Friday’s service mentioned the sacrifice made by Major Brent Taylor of the Utah National Guard, killed in Afghanistan one week ago.

“It’s humbling because you go all the way back to World War II with some of these gentlemen, and some of the stuff that they’ve done,” said Lt. Col. T.J. Eaton of the 419th Fighter Wing.

He was honored for his heroic piloting of a B-1 bomber over Afghanistan ten years ago.

“We had an army forward operating base that was being overrun,” he said. “It was under attack and we were really the only airborne asset with weapons that could come and help.  So, we hurried over and did what we could.”

Eaton and his crew dropped bombs in challenging terrain to save the lives of 62 US ground forces. They did that from a bomber with multiple malfunctions, and were awarded Bomber Crew of the Year by the Air Force Association for their actions.

“The places may change where the battles occur. But, the things that get people through those battles are the same: courage, commitment, love of country. It’s the same thing.”

On the stage of honorees, a timeline of courage and commitment over 75 years.

“It’s a great honor,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ronald J. Madsen, with the 19th Special Forces Group of the Utah National Guard. “I have to remember the friends that have passed away, Aaron Butler.”

Madsen was honored for his courage in Afghanistan in August 2017. His group of Utah National Guardsmen were clearing a building when a bomb went off killing Staff Sergeant Aaron Butler of Monticello. Madsen engaged the enemy with gunfire to allow the medical evacuation of many more men.

“You work with people, you try to do your best for your country to help other countries that are struggling. Unfortunately, these things happen,” he said.

Major Brent Taylor was also killed also while helping soldiers in Afghanistan.

“It’s humbling that you still have people who are willing to step up and potentially make the sacrifice like Major Taylor did,” said Eaton. “He gave his all for his country.”

He was saddened for Major Brent Taylor’s family, yet proud of what Taylor did for his country.

“There’s a brother in arms who stepped up to do the mission, and he knew the dangers, and he went anyway and unfortunately he paid the ultimate price.”

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Univ. Of Utah Honors Veterans For Service