The mayor of a Utah city is being hailed for his heroism after he was killed in action in Afghanistan while deployed as part of his National Guard service.
Maj. Brent Taylor, the mayor of North Ogden, Utah and the father of seven children, was killed in action in Afghanistan on Saturday.
Taylor, 39, was killed at a base in Kabul when an Afghan security forces member allegedly opened fire on foreign servicemen training Afghan soldiers, according to the Washington Post. Taylor was the fifth service member to be killed in such an assault, which is known as an “insider attack,” over the last fourth months.
As news of Taylor’s death spread, many public figures, including Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Mitt Romney, who is running to represent Utah in the U.S. Senate, expressed their sorrow about his loss on social media.
Sen. Orrin Hatch shared several tributes to Taylor on Twitter, describing him as a “hero.”
“Brent was a hero, a patriot, a wonderful father, and a dear friend,” Hatch said. “News of his death in Afghanistan is devastating. My prayers and love are with Jennie and his 7 young children. His service will always be remembered.”
Taylor, who was serving his fourth tour of duty, was working to train Afghan commando units. The training was part of an Afghan plan to double the number of commandos— from 12,000 to 23,300— by 2020.
Taylor posted a video on Facebook in January to explain to North Ogden residents that he was being deployed.
“There are three great loyalties that have guided my life and everything in it— God, family and country,” Taylor said. “While I am far from perfect in any of these respects, I have given my life to serve all three of these loyalties whenever and however I can.”
Utah Governor Gary Herbert released a statement on Twitter expressing his sadness about Taylor’s death.
“I am heartbroken at the news that we lost one of our own today in Afghanistan and feel completely humbled by the service and the ultimate sacrifice offered by this brave an selfless soldier,” Herbert said.
A GoFundMe aiming to help support Taylor’s family had received nearly $250,000 worth of donations by Monday morning.
I am heartbroken at the loss of Major Brent Taylor. Our deepest condolences and constant prayers are with his wife Jennie, his children and the entire Taylor family. All of Utah mourns with you. pic.twitter.com/Ib9oysyDCN
— Gov. Gary Herbert (@GovHerbert) November 4, 2018
I hate this. I’m struggling for words. I love Mayor Taylor, his amazing wife Jennie and his 7 sweet kids. Utah weeps for them today. This war has once again cost us the best blood of a generation. We must rally around his family. Thank you for your sacrifice my friend. ???????????? https://t.co/uS9emZgv7s
— Spencer Cox (@SpencerJCox) November 3, 2018
Major Brent Taylor’s last message to me was: “Going great over here. Can’t wait to be home in a few months.” I can’t believe we have lost this incredible husband, father, mayor, patriot, and friend. #utpol #hero pic.twitter.com/BpVEeVfA9A
— Michael Mower (@MikeLMower) November 3, 2018