Marine with Two Harbors-area connection dies in AfghanistanA 27-year-old Northland Marine who parents live in rural Two Harbors was killed in an explosion while on patrol in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.
By: Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune
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.
Their 27-year-old son, Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Aaron James Taylor, was killed 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 today.
Taylor 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 ordinance 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 and jazz bands and drama.
He 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.
“He was just such a good person,’’ Clifford Taylor said. “He was a fine son, a good soldier and a good man. Everybody who knew him loved him.’’
Staff Sgt. Taylor is also survived by his brother, Kyle, 21, a junior at the University of Minnesota Duluth, his girlfriend, Stephanie Jacobowitz from California, his half-sister, Bailey, and his special adopted family, the Zidariches of Grand Rapids—Mike, Ella, Becky, and Shannon.