On Thursday, March 21, 2019, President Donald Trump signed S.49, which designates the outstation of the Department of Veterans Affairs in North Ogden, UT as the Major Brent Taylor Vet Center Outstation. Rep. Rob Bishop (UT-01) introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives and delivered the remarks below honoring the late Major Taylor:
While training Afghan security forces in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Major Taylor was killed by an apparent insider attack on November 3rd in Kabul Province, while in the final months of deployment.
He is survived by his wife, Jennie, and seven children; Megan, Lincoln, Alex, Jacob, Ellie, Jonathan, & Caroline. In Utah, we will forever mourn with the family of Major Taylor. We will grieve his loss and honor his sacrifice.
As Major Taylor, and his brothers, passed through Basic Combat Training, they learned the Army Values in great detail. Those values are Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.
Major Brent Taylor lived these values. First:
Major Taylor swore to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. He swore to support and defend our nation’s guiding document against all enemies. He demonstrated his loyalty to that oath time and time again.
Major Taylor earned a Bronze Star for, “his outstanding dedication to duty during combat operations in Iraq.” The Army says, “doing your duty means more than carrying out your assigned tasks.” Brent Taylor’s military service record shows he employed this guidance to the fullest. So too does his life outside the military.
Taylor was not only Major Taylor, he was also Mayor Taylor. His community and neighbors so entrusted him to lead and provide that they elected him mayor of North Ogden City, Utah. In that role, he did much more than ‘carry out his assigned tasks.’
He worked to beautify and improve the city. He aimed at creating a community that was welcoming to newcomers. In the pre-dawn morning of his last Christmas on earth, Mayor Taylor ventured out into the cold to oversee the snow plows and salt trucks as they cleared the roads and made his city safe.
Major Taylor not only enjoyed the respect of his family, community, and fellow service members. His praise came from across the globe. In a letter from Afghanistan to Mrs. Taylor following her husband’s death, an Afghan aviator said, “your husband taught me to … treat my children as treasured gifts, to be a better father, to be a better [husband], and to be a better man.”
A man does not receive that level of praise without first showing forth their own grand measure of respect. Major Brent Taylor knew about respect.
As a high school senior in Chandler, Arizona, Brent delivered the Honors Speech at graduation and his instruction to the audience was to, “Go out. Be happy. Find peace and make a positive difference in the world.”
Major Taylor left his family and American soil on four deployments to serve and, ‘make a positive difference in the world.’ In that same Honors Speech, he gave the order to “stick with it to the end.” He, himself, did just that.
Major Taylor honored his faith, his family, his community, and his county throughout his short life. Brent’s social media postings are replete with photos of his children and family. They show images of love, service, and patriotism. Qualities of a man, husband, and father who honors his family and country.
In his last Facebook post, Brent implored that we all remember “we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us.” He ended that post with the words, “God Bless America.”
The army says that integrity is a quality you develop by adhering to moral principles and that the more choices you make based on integrity, the more this highly prized value will affect your relationships with family and friends.
The days since the sad passing of Major Brent Taylor have been filled with an outpouring of love and grief expressed by those who knew Brent. His integrity left an impression and his integrity affected his relationships.
In September of 2007, Major Taylor was commanding a convoy in Iraq when he was hit by an insurgent IED. His vehicle was struck by shrapnel, asphalt, and concrete debris. For the wounds received in action, Major Taylor was awarded the Purple Heart. He would go on to deploy twice more.
Brent Taylor stood as an example of personal courage. He lived the Army Values.
In April of this year, the Department of Veterans Affairs opened a facility in North Ogden City. It’s a place where veterans and their families can go to receive counseling, support, and other help. It’s a place located right in the heart of Brent Taylor’s hometown and as a small gesture to his service and sacrifice, I have introduced a bill to name this VA facility, the “Major Brent Taylor Vet Center Outstation.”
The naming of a building will never repay the debt our nation owes Mayor Taylor or his family, but it can stand as a humble reminder of the citizen soldier who lost his life in the service of others.