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Army Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Taylor

Died September 20, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

25, of Charleston, S.C.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Polk, La.; died Sept. 20 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when he received small arms fire during dismounted operations.

Army Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Taylor remembered

The Associated Press

Capt. Ryan Woolf recalled Matthew J. Taylor as an always-smiling practical joker, but also an accomplished leader.

“At the age of 23, he was my youngest and best squad leader,” Woolf said. “He was my go-to guy.”

Taylor, 25, of Charleston, S.C., died Sept. 21 in Baghdad of wounds suffered from small-arms fire. He was assigned to Fort Polk.

Without showing any prior interest in the armed services, Taylor signed up to join the Army on Sept. 12, 2001, the day after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

“He had an extreme sense of duty,” said his father, Don Taylor.

According to his parents, he was a talented musician, who brought an acoustic guitar with him to Iraq. He was also interested in computer programming.

The last time Kimberly Taylor spoke to her son, it was the day before his was killed, the same day as his daughter Ryann’s fifth birthday party.

“Do me a favor and make sure Ryann has a good day today,” Kimberly Taylor recalled her son saying.

He also is survived by his wife, Randi, and daughters Raegan, 2, and Raina, who was born in June.

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