Remains of National Guard soldier and Utah mayor killed in Afghanistan to arrive in US
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The remains of a National Guard soldier and Utah mayor killed in Afghanistan over the weekend are expected to arrive in the United States on Tuesday, according to the Department of Defense.
Maj. Brent R. Taylor, 39, who was killed during an insider attack in Kabul on Saturday, was the mayor of North Ogden, a husband, and a father to seven young children.
He served the Utah Army National Guard based out of Joint Force Headquarters in Draper, Utah, and had completed two combat tours in Iraq, serving as a convoy security commander and then as an adviser to an Iraqi national intelligence agency, according to the biography on the North Ogden city website.
A dignified transfer of Taylor’s remains is expected to take place early Tuesday morning at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Department of Defense spokesperson Col. Rob Manning told reporters on Monday.
One other American service member who was wounded in the attack is currently undergoing medical treatment but in stable condition, according to a NATO statement.
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch tweeted a photo with Taylor on Saturday, calling the soldier “a hero, a patriot, a wonderful father, and a dear friend.”
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said in a statement he was “heartbroken at the news” and felt “completely humbled by the service and the ultimate sacrifice offered by this brave and selfless soldier.”
“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,” the statement read.
In his final Facebook post on Oct. 28, Taylor encouraged everyone to vote and all for unity.
“As the USA gets ready to vote in our own election next week, I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote. 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,” he wrote.
Taylor was elected mayor of North Ogden in 2013 after serving on the City Council since 2009. He held a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Brigham Young University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Utah, according to the North Ogden city website. He was a current Ph.D. candidate at the University of Utah in International Relations.
The roughly 17,000 residents of North Ogden are mourning the loss of their city’s mayor — the city government writing in a statement posted to its website that Taylor had “a profound influence on this community.”
“He was the best of men with the ability to see potential and possibility in everything around him,” the statement said. “We feel blessed to have had him as our mayor.”
“He had a great love and vision for this community,” it added. “He was patriotic to the core and a shining example of what an American politician should be. We are grateful for his service to both our city and our country. His loss will be felt for years to come.”
Three Afghan insider attacks in three weeks
Taylor’s death marks the third insider attack in Afghanistan in the last three weeks.
On Oct. 18, a member of the Afghan forces targeted prominent U.S. and Afghan generals in Kandahar, killing the province’s well-known police chief, Gen. Abdul Raziq, and wounding U.S. Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Smiley who was later transferred to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Also present during the chaotic attack was the top U.S. general in command of all U.S. troops in Afghanistan who escaped unharmed.
The event has “deeply shaken the relationship between Afghan and American forces,” according to a New York Times investigation into the deadly insider attack.
Just four days later, a Czech soldier was killed and two others were wounded during another insider attack in Herat Province in western Afghanistan.
The number of insider attacks in Afghanistan peaked at 61 in 2012 but had become rarer after the U.S. military instituted security safeguards to protect American troops.
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