MONMOUTH, OR, USA U.S. Army PFC, COMPANY B, 41ST SPECIAL TROOPS BATTALION, PORTLAND, OR BAGHDAD, IRAQ 08/28/2009
The Oregon National Guard announced the death of a soldier who was serving in Iraq. 19-year old Private First Class Taylor D. Marks, was killed in Rashid, Iraq on August 28th, 2009 when his convoy was struck by an explosive formed penetrator. He was serving with the 41st Special Troops Battalion, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Private First Class Taylor Marks was born in Salem, Oregon on November 9th, 1989. He was raised in Monmouth, Oregon. He was a graduate of Central High School and joined the Oregon Army National Guard attending a training with a friend.
His thoughts were to join the military and continue his education. He was contracted to go to the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio in California, but made the decision to defer his schooling in order to deploy with the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
The moment Taylor Marks fell in love with the U.S. military was on the first day he spent posing as its enemy. It was January 2008, and Marks, then an 18-year-old senior at Central High School in Monmouth, was spending his first day as a volunteer for a nonprofit group that helps train soldiers for battle. The day turned into a marathon: 37 hours outdoors in the snow, sleet and rain. By the time it was over, Marks had been knocked down, frisked, zip-cuffed and dragged off the battlefield, multiple times. And he loved it.
“I asked him, ‘Why do you do that?'” his mother, Michelle, said Saturday. “And he said, ‘Because it’s fun!'”
Relatives of an Oregon teenager killed in Iraq remember Taylor Marks as a young man who didn’t want to go into debt, so he went into the National Guard. His stepfather says the 19-year-old from Monmouth planned to go to the University of Oregon to study finance and Japanese. He decided to join the Guard to raise college money.
“He didn’t want to incur any debt, and he didn’t want us to incur any debt,” said Marks’ stepfather, Don Mack of Monmouth. “He came home and told us that he was going to join the Guard to help pay for his school.”
On the night of his high school graduation, in late May 2008, Marks told the Statesman Journal that he planned to continue working at his job at a Chevron station, then enter the National Guard in August.
“I’m a little bit nervous, but I’ve got some big plans to look forward to,” Marks said then.
He ended up going to National Guard training with a friend.
The military department says he has been promoted posthumously from private first class to specialist. He is survived by his mother Michelle and stepfather Don; sister Courtney age 15; brother Alex age 19 of Monmouth, Ore, and father Morey Marks of Salem, Oregon.