HOMOSASSA, FL, US
U. S. Marine Corps
CPL, 2D BN 8TH MAR, (1ST MAR DIV, I MEF FWD), 2D MAR DIV, CAMP LEJEUNE, NC
02/22/2011, CAMP BASTION, AFGHANISTAN
On February 22, 2011, United States Marine Corporal Johnathan Wesley Taylor succumbed to wounds sustained while on patrol in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device exploded. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Johnathan served four tours, leaving on his first seven-month deployment from Camp Lejeune on Oct. 29, 2007, to Anbar Province, Iraq. In May, 2009, he began his second seven-month deployment in Helmand Province, Afghanistan and was air-lifted into a Taliban stronghold. In July, 2010, he was the first in his unit to volunteer for another six months in Afghanistan (replacing a Marine who was killed). Upon his return to Camp Lejeune, he assisted in the training of 140 new recruits and went back with them again to Helmand province, leaving on January 12, 2011. Johnathan was twenty-three years old.
Johnathan Wesley Taylor was born in Hickory, North Carolina on 14 August 1987 and moved to Florida with his family when he was about 12. To the folks in Homosassa, Johnathan Taylor was known as “Butters”. That was for his ability not to handle the football when it was thrown to him. John wore the jersey No. 83 where he played tight-end at Lecanto High School. Though he couldn’t hold on to the football, Johnathan held on to his interest in serving his country. Johnathan loved the Marine Corps. He wanted to serve his country and was upset over 9/11. When Johnathan was younger he always talked about going into the Marine Corps, because that was the toughest outfit.
Even before Johnathan graduated from Lecanto High School in 2006, Johnathan Taylor displayed military leadership skills as a Sea Cadet attending summer programs at Admiral Farragut Academy in Tampa. As a teenager of 16 or 17, Johnathan was an honor cadet in charge of the rest of the cadets. After high school, Johnathan worked at a local quarry before finally enlisting around Thanksgiving in 2007. As a Marine, he became highly skilled at close, and hand to hand combat.
Johnathan’s Marine company was part of the biggest airlift since Vietnam, dropped the furthest south, into the middle of a Taliban stronghold on April 2, 2009. Johnathan lost one of his best friends that day, and six others soon after. Johnathan knew the dangers and held his family’s belief that he would never die. He believed that while his body would die, his spirit would never die; and he believed that it was your spirit that defines you.
About twelve hours before what would be his last patrol; Johnathan called home and spoke to his mother, Deborah. “He said, ‘I love you,”’ recalls Mark. “He said, ‘I have to leave in the morning, I have to get socks and shoes on and go on patrol.”’ He never made it home from patrol.