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By Daniella Silva
A Utah mayor who was serving in Afghanistan was killed and another service member was wounded in an apparent “insider attack,” officials said Sunday.
North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor, a major in the Utah National Guard, was killed in the apparent insider attack while serving with his unit in Kabul on Saturday, Maj. Gen. Jeff Burton, the adjutant general in Utah’s National Guard, said at a news conference Sunday afternoon.
Burton said Taylor, 39, was “a man of excellence” and an “amazing human being” who was killed while serving in his fourth deployment. Taylor leaves behind a wife and seven children, Burton said.
Taylor’s desire to serve his country and multiple deployments were “a testament to the character of this man and motivation to preserve the freedom you and I enjoy as Americans,” he added.
Burton said initial reports indicated the attacker was a member of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, who was then immediately killed by other Afghan forces. The other wounded soldier was recovering, he said.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, called Taylor a “great mayor of North Ogden.”
“Maj. Brent Taylor was the personification of love of God, family and country,” he said.
The incident was the second such insider attack in less than two weeks, after an Afghan commando killed one and wounded two others on Oct. 22.
Spencer Cox, the state’s lieutenant governor, said in a post on Twitter Saturday that he was “struggling for words” after learning of Taylor’s death.
“I love Mayor Taylor, his amazing wife Jennie and his 7 sweet kids. Utah weeps for them today,” he wrote. “This war has once again cost us the best blood of a generation.”
Taylor announced on Facebook in January that he was embarking on a one-year deployment to Afghanistan as part of an advisory team training the staff of an Afghan commando battalion.
“Serving as mayor of North Ogden city has been one of the greatest honors of my life and the highlight of my civilian professional career,” he said. “Service is what leadership is all about.”
“There are three great loyalties that have guided my life and everything in it, God, family, and country,” he added.
A biography for Taylor on North Ogden city’s website said the mayor had served for more than a decade as an officer with the National Guard, including seven years on active duty. He served two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan before his most recent deployment, according to the biography.
Taylor became mayor in 2013 after serving on North Ogden’s city council.