|From The Post and Courier charleston.net
Local soldier killed
25-year-old man hit by gunfire in Baghdad
By Nadine Parks
The Post and Courier
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Joseph Taylor came home from Iraq this summer to see his brand-new baby daughter. He spent two weeks at a rented beach house with his wife and three children, then said farewell once again and went back to the war.
Taylor's wife, Randi Taylor, and their children have been staying in Goose Creek with her family while the sergeant was overseas. On Sunday, a chaplain and a first sergeant with the 10th Mountain Division (Light) Infantry knocked on the door.
"We knew what it meant," said the soldier's father-in-law, Randy Gongre.
The former Summerville resident and Fort Dorchester High School student was on patrol in Baghdad on Sunday when he was wounded by small arms fire and died, said Samantha Evans, public information officer for Fort Polk, La., where the staff sergeant was stationed. Taylor was an infantryman assigned to the division's 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team.
His parents live in Hanahan. He was the son of Don Taylor, chief technology officer for Benefitfocus, and Kimberly Taylor, head of the English Department at Trident Technical College.
A former band drum major for Fort Dorchester, Taylor went to the Army recruiter's office the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"He felt like he needed to do his part," his wife said. "He said that he needed to contribute in some way."
By November of that year, he was in the Army, and the following summer he married Randi, a 2002 Goose Creek High School graduate.
"He was about the best son-in-law you could ask for," Gongre said.
The 25-year-old was deployed twice to Afghanistan and was on his first tour of duty in Iraq when he was killed. He was a squad leader.
"He was a natural leader. One thing the Army really did was it brought out all the fine points of his character. ... I watched him mature over the years," Gongre said. "He had a lot of fine leadership qualities. He took charge of things and got things done. He was a good fit for the Army."
"I bragged about him to all of my friends," Gongre said.
Matthew Taylor's awards include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal and the Combat Infantry Badge.
Matthew Taylor planned to leave the Army at the end of his enlistment next April.
"He wanted to be with his family," his father said.
The staff sergeant is survived by three daughters: Ryann Taylor, 5; Raegan Taylor, 2; and Raina Taylor, who was born in June.
Carolina Memorial Funeral Home in North Charleston is handling the arrangements. Services had not been scheduled by late Tuesday.
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