Two from Northland killed in Afghanistan
The cost of the global war on terrorism has hit home hard.
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Aaron James Taylor, 27, who graduated from Greenway High School in Coleraine, and Spc. George W. Cauley, 24, assigned to the Minnesota Army National Guard in Duluth, are two of the latest casualties of the war in Afghanistan.
Three Marines showed up at the door of Clifford and Cindy Taylor's rural Two Harbors' home Friday night with the message no parent of a military member wants to hear.
They were notified that their son was killed earlier Friday in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.
"They just told me that he was hit by an IED [improvised explosive device] while he was on foot patrol," Clifford Taylor said Monday.
Staff Sgt. Taylor, formerly of Bovey, was patrolling the Helmand Province in southwestern Afghanistan, the world's largest opium-producing region and the scene of fighting between NATO forces and the Taliban.
"He was totally dedicated to the Marine Corps," his father said. "He loved his job. He was very ambitious and he was respected by his peers and his superiors."
Staff Sgt. Taylor was based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and had been in Afghanistan about six weeks, his father said. His job was explosive ordnance disposal. He had already served a tour of duty in Iraq.
Clifford Taylor said his son was a 2000 graduate of Greenway High School in Coleraine, where he was manager of the hockey team, wrestled, and participated in the pep, jazz and concert bands, as well as drama.
"He was very hardworking, very respectful," said Greenway band director Sander Grotjohn. "He was a really good trumpet player, a nice kid, a good student and a real joy to have in the band."
Clifford Taylor said he talked to his son about a week ago by phone. "At that time he was telling me that 'we are doing good things over here,' " he said, adding that his son felt he was making a difference.
Taylor's grandmother told Fox 21 News he had just bought a house and was planning on getting married when he returned home.
"I was hoping to see him married and have children and, now, knowing that he won't, it's just, it's just hard," said Adeline Taylor of Duluth.
Staff Sgt. Taylor is also survived by his brother, Kyle, 21, a junior at the University of Minnesota Duluth; his girlfriend, Stephanie Jacobowitz of California; his half-sister, Bailey; and his special adopted family, the Zidariches of Grand Rapids: Mike, Ella, Becky and Shannon.
The Department of Defense announced Monday that Spc. Cauley of Walker, Minn., died Saturday in Bagram, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his vehicle with an IED on Wednesday, also in Helmand Province. He was assigned to the 114th Truck Company of the Minnesota Army National Guard in Duluth. Staff at the Walker American Legion say Cauley attended the Remer, Minn., school district, and that his family moved to the Walker area in the past few years.