Brigadier General Tom Fisher Reflects On Death of Major Brent Taylor
Brent Taylor, a major in the Utah National Guard and Mayor of North Ogden, who was killed in Afghanistan November 3rd, is being remembered by family, friends and colleagues.
One of those is Tom Fisher, a Brigadier General in the National Guard and Summit County Manager, who said the news about Taylor hits him on a personal level.
Fisher talked to KPCW about Taylor, while the Mayor’s remains are scheduled to arrive in Salt Lake Wednesday afternoon at the Wright Air National Guard Base in Salt Lake.
Taylor was killed in an apparent insider attack while serving in Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel.
Fisher noted that Taylor wasn’t part of a deployment of the Utah National Guard but had volunteered.
“He was working with the 75th Ranger Regiment which is one of our special forces regiments in the Army. He had volunteered for that deployment as he had gone on three other deployments before that.”
Taylor had taken a leave of absence from his job as North Ogden Mayor. Fisher said this is not unprecedented, but it isn’t a customary occurrence.
“It’s not very usual. It’s also not necessarily usual that people volunteer as individuals for these types of deployments. But as his wife has said several times and as we’ve read about this was what he wanted to do. This was his calling.”
He said he had served in the Guard with Taylor.
“He was actually on my brigade staff when I was a brigade commander for the 204th maneuver enhancement brigade. So, I knew him fairly well and knew of how well he worked, his style, what he did for a living, knew about his family. So this one was a little bit personal.”
Fisher said he can’t speculate about why Taylor volunteered for a hazardous post halfway around the world.
“Quite often people join the military for a lot of different reasons whether its college benefits or simply to have a job but the gravity of what we do and what we train for usually means that there’s some sense of service along with that. Certainly, with the all-volunteer force that is even a higher value. We’re there to provide service whether its in the state as the National Guard during emergencies or when we’re deployed under a national order.”
Taylor was reportedly shot by one of the commandoes he was training. We asked Fisher if the U.S.’s continued presence in Afghanistan is worth it. But Fisher said his role as a soldier is not to make political statements.
“What I can say is that we are supporting a national military strategy. When our units are called to do that that’s what they’re there for. That’s what the Utah National Guard trains for. It’s what the whole National Guard and the whole Army trains for. If our leaders decide that’s what is needed that’s where we’re going to support. It’s all part of how we’re set up. We join the military; the military is subordinate to the civilian leadership of our country. That’s by design to keep us out of the politics of these situations.”
Brigadier General Tom Fisher, who said that a GoFundMe page has been set up for Taylor’s widow and seven children.
Major Taylor’s body will be taken to Ogden. A public viewing is set for Friday night, followed by an all-night vigil and a funeral Saturday afternoon at the Dee Events Center.
With Veterans Day also being commemorated this week, Fisher said it’s important to remember that many members of them military—whether active, former or retired—continue to serve their communities.