Thursday, October 26, 2006

David G. Taylor killed by I.E.D.

David G. Taylor Jr. wasn't satisfied to simply serve his country in Iraq. This summer, he asked to get closer to the danger and volunteered to supervise Army troops patrolling southern Baghdad.

A roadside bomb blasted through the 37-year-old Army major's Humvee on Sunday, killing him instantly.

"I knew things were cranking up over there," his mother, Kay Taylor, said Wednesday evening from her mother's home outside Apex. "We weren't surprised, but what a damn shame. What a loss."

Taylor, who considered his grandparents' farm in western Wake County his second home, became a father four months ago. He flew home from Iraq this summer to be with his wife, Michelle, during childbirth. Jake was less than 2 weeks old the last time Taylor held him.

Taylor continued a family tradition of soldiering. Both his grandfathers served in World War II, and his father completed two tours in Vietnam, spending his entire career with the Army.

Since his family traveled the globe with the military, Taylor found his grandparents' farm in Wake County an anchor. As a teenager, he spent summers driving tractors around John and Doris Overman's tobacco and dairy farm. That's where he earned enough Boy Scout badges to become an Eagle Scout at age 13, his mother said.

After high school in Germany, Taylor attended Davidson College in Mecklenburg County on an ROTC scholarship. He became an officer in the Army after graduation and planned to spend his career with the military.

Kay Taylor said her son felt drawn to serve in Iraq, particularly because he knew he was to be a father. "He thought the Americans needed to be there to give the Iraqi children the future of democracy," she said. "He really felt that what he was doing there was the right thing."

Taylor often patrolled the streets with the soldiers he supervised. On Sunday, he was training new arrivals when the Humvee he drove hit the homemade bomb, his mother said.

Taylor wasn't one for pomp and circumstance. After his body arrives from Iraq in a few days, a friend will escort his casket to Apex. The family will say a quiet goodbye and help him settle into his grave site near his late grandfather, John Overman.

Taylor is survived by his wife, Michelle Thresher Taylor; his 4-month-old son, Jacob David Jude Taylor; his parents, Kay and David Taylor of London, England; his brother, John K. Taylor of Yokosuka, Japan; and his maternal grandmother, Doris G. Overman of Apex.

From the News Observer