North Ogden mayor killed in Afghanistan ‘loved Afghan people’

Utah National Guard Honor Guard carry a casket containing the remains of Maj. Brent R. Taylor at the National Guard base in Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 14, 2018 | Photo by Matt Herp/Standard-Examiner via Pool, St. George News

OGDEN, Utah (AP) A Utah mayor killed while serving in the National Guard in Afghanistan had “loved the Afghan people” and was a man of conviction, confidence and compassion, family and military leaders said at a public funeral Saturday.

Utah National Guard members salute as a hearse containing the remains of Maj. Brent R. Taylor is escorted out of the National Guard base in Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 14, 2018 | Photo by Matt Herp/Standard-Examiner via Pool, St. George News

Brent Taylor, 39, was a deeply patriotic man who was committed to training commandos as part of an effort to build the capacity of the Afghan national army, Utah Army National Guard Maj. Gen. Jefferson Burton said at the service inside an events center in the northern Utah city of Ogden.

Taylor was killed Nov. 3 in an attack by one of the Afghan commandos he was training, military officials said.

“He was completely committed to going and doing this job,” Burton said. “He truly loved the Afghan people and wanted to help them so they could build capacity in themselves and as a nation to be able to stand on their own.”

Taylor’s casket was draped in an American flag and sat in front of a stage where his father, a local leader with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, led the services.

The choir sang “America the Beautiful” as the opening hymn and “Born to be a Soldier” to close in a nod to the service’s focus on Taylor’s love of country and commitment to sacrifice.

This undated photo provided by the Utah National Guard shows Maj. Brent Taylor of the Utah National Guard. Taylor, former mayor of North Ogden, was killed in Afghanistan Nov. 3, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Utah National Guard via Associated Press, St. George News

His wife, Jennie, didn’t speak but has previously said the family felt “heartache but no regret” because Taylor was trying to bring freedom to others.

Besides his wife, Taylor leaves behind their seven children, ranging from 11 months to 13 years old.

The memorial service capped off several days of events to honor Taylor.

Hundreds of soldiers saluted Taylor’s flag-covered casket Wednesday as his remains returned to a National Guard base in Salt Lake City. A couple hundred motorcycle riders carrying American flags followed the hearse north to Taylor’s hometown of North Ogden in a procession.

On Friday, a National Guard member stood guard over his casket during an all-night vigil at a mortuary.

Taylor had taken yearlong leave of absence as the mayor of North Ogden to go on his second tour to Afghanistan. Taylor, a military intelligence officer with Joint Force Headquarters, also had served two tours in Iraq.

From left, Gov. Gary Herbert, Lt. Gov. Spencer J. Cox, Maj. Gen. Jefferson S. Burton, Civilian Aid to the Secretary of the Army John Edwards, and Brig. Gen. Christine Burckle salute as members of the Utah National Guard Honor Guard carry a casket containing the remains of Maj. Brent R. Taylor at the National Guard base in Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 14, 2018 | Photo by Matt Herp/Standard-Examiner via Pool, St. George News

Younger brother Derek Taylor said Brent had a knack for bridging gaps and finding resolutions among people with different views — a talent he developed at the family home where fights and disagreements were frequent. He said his brother always ended their phone conversations with “Love ya, Derek.”

He said his brother was blessed with “three Cs,” — commitment, confidence and compassion — and those were the driving force behind everything he accomplished.

“As a brother, Brent was as good as they come,” Derek Taylor said. “He was the best of all of us.”

Toby Mileski, a friend and former mayor of Pleasant View, a town neighboring North Ogden, remembered Taylor for his love of eating, his penchant for always running late and his good sense of humor.

“We were always laughing — always — and that’s one thing I’m really going to miss,” Mileski said, later adding, “Jennie, kids, your dad was a warrior, a patriot and a super person. I am honored and blessed have been able to call him my best friend.”

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • Mike P November 18, 2018 at 9:48 am

    I mean no disrespect here at all, but how long are they going to milk out this story?

  • Comment November 18, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Anyone have any idea of why we are sill occupying Afghanistan in the first place?

  • tazzman November 18, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Very sad story all around. I don’t see an end to the war there either. I suspect we will be there for decades with at least a sizable force. The U.S. finds it easier to get into wars than we have getting out of them.

    • Comment November 18, 2018 at 3:21 pm

      yep. Baby Bush’s “war on turr” is almost 18 years old and has cost trillions of dollars. Imagine the good that money could’ve done at home. But, it’s more important we keep military contractors well fed and fattened I guess…. hmm. To this day I still don’t understand why so many of the Baby Bush crew haven’t got the rope, other than the elitists look out for one another.

      • KR567 November 18, 2018 at 5:14 pm

        Well that’s just according to you..yes you are entitled to your opinion but thats all it is

      • tazzman November 18, 2018 at 5:32 pm

        Well, I’m not going to comment on the war criminality of Cheney’s or W’s war actions, but our foreign policy does need a serious reassessment. Too many money interests who profit from these endless wars. I do agree with you there.

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