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Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan A. Taylor

Died December 1, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

22, of Jacksonville, Fla.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Dec. 1 in Garmsir district, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations.

Joining Marines was his goal from childhood on

The Associated Press

Jonathan Taylor started talking about joining the Marine Corps when he was just 11.

At 13, he wasn’t quite old enough — so he joined the Naval Sea Cadets Corps. He was highly motivated, said Lt. Cmdr. June Tillett, who mentored Taylor in the program.

“I’ve gone through thousands of cadets, and he was in my top five,” she said. “I feel like I’ve lost a son.”

Taylor, 22, of Jacksonville, Fla., was killed Dec. 1 in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Camp Lejeune, N.C. He graduated from Wolfson High School and attended The Citadel, a military college in South Carolina, before enlisting after a year there.

Taylor loved the Florida Gators and enjoyed politics and history, according to an obituary posted online. He last spoke to his family the day before Thanksgiving to get an update on his favorite team and chat with his three sisters.

“He brought so much light to the family,” said sister MacKenzie, 15. “If you saw him, you’d smile.”

Friends and family said Taylor excelled in Junior ROTC activities as a youngster and knew what it meant to serve.

“Jonathan was one of those idealists,” said James Miller, Taylor’s high school history teacher. “He understood why we started this country. He got the sacrifices behind this country.”

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