Pleasant View man dies while attending the U.S. Naval Academy

Jun 8, 2022, 12:11 PM | Updated: 2:25 pm

(U.S. Naval Academy)...

(U.S. Naval Academy)

(U.S. Naval Academy)

PLEASANT GROVE, Utah — A 24-year-old man from Pleasant View, Utah, who was attending the U.S. Naval Academy, died Tuesday morning in Philadelphia.

According to a news release from the college, Midshipman 1st Class Taylor Connors passed away with family at his bedside.

“The circumstances surrounding his death are currently under investigation; foul play is not suspected,” stated the release.

Vice Adm. Sean Buck, 63rd superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy said, “Our Naval Academy community is mourning a tragic loss this week of a life taken far too soon – Midshipman Taylor Connors honorably served his nation as a Marine and as a midshipman. Through the grieving process, I encourage members of the Brigade, faculty, and staff to reach out and offer support to one another from near and far this summer. My wife, Joanne, and I, and the entire Naval Academy community have Taylor’s family, friends, and fellow Marines and midshipmen in our thoughts during this difficult time.”

Connors attended Utah Military Academy where officials say he attained the rank of group commander, which means he was responsible for more than 250 cadets. He played varsity soccer and wrestled, was a member of the National Honor Society and a Boy Scout.

In 2016, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. The release states he achieved the rank of corporal before receiving a Secretary of the Navy nomination for an appointment to the Naval Academy.

In June 2019, Connors reported to Annapolis, Maryland, with the class of 2023.

According to USNA officials, Connors was a member of the 23rd, 2nd, and 16th Companies, a physics major, and was on the Jiu-jitsu team. He was also a member of the Semper Fi Society and competed with his companymates as an intramural sports athlete.

“Connors was a leader amongst his peers. Last summer, Connors served as a Plebe Summer squad leader, a fundamental leadership role responsible for transitioning newly reported midshipman candidates from civilians to basically trained midshipmen prepared to join the Brigade. During the Fall 2021 semester, Connors served as the 2nd Company First Sergeant, working alongside the company commander and executive officer, responsible for ensuring accountability during day-to-day company operations,” stated the release.

Marine Corps Maj. David R. Emison II, the Naval Academy’s training officer and a mentor to Connors, spoke highly of the 24-year-old, following the announcement of his death.

“Taylor Connors was the best of us. He was a true mentor and leader among his peers but I know he saw himself as a Marine infantryman first and foremost,” he said. “There is something to be said about an ethos like the one he exemplified. Taylor was intensely bright, thoughtful, and a man of faith.”

“Although I am heartbroken for his family and those of us who were fortunate to have known him,” Emison continued, “it doesn’t make me any less grateful that men like him are still called to serve. Men like him make this way of life meaningful — I am honored that I had the pleasure to know him and learn from him.”

Connors, who was a Marine rifleman and honor graduate of the Corporal’s course, was assigned to FAST Company Bravo, Marine Corps Security Forces out of Yorktown, Virginia, and deployed to Bahrain and Rota, Spain, according to the release.

“He was noted for volunteer work with a local school in Bahrain and an animal refuge in Rota, and his chain of command described him as ‘intelligent, a critical thinker, very thoughtful, physically tough and honest — a Blue Chip Marine.'”

The 24-year-old also received many awards.

“Connors was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and was authorized to wear the National Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2); Expert Rifle Qualification Badge (2); and Expert Pistol Qualification Badge (2).”

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox shared his thoughts Wednesday: “Heartbroken to hear about the passing of Midshipman 1st Class Taylor Connors. We are profoundly grateful for his service. Please keep his family, loved ones, and fellow service members in your prayers during this most difficult time.”

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Pleasant View man dies while attending the U.S. Naval Academy