Friday, December 14, 2012

Persistence pays off for Staff Sgt. David S. Taylor

Standing next to the Welcome to Orofino sign in Cannon Park, Staff Sgt. David Taylor shows off his pretty daughters: nine year old Nohealani on the left and seven year old twins Melia and Leialoha in front. David is holding an American flag he gave to the Clearwater Tribune - a flag that flew over combat in Afghanistan.

By Alannah Allbrett

It was a bright, warm day in May. America’s day of horror 9-11, would occur just a few months later but, in the heat of the day, David Taylor, led his platoon across the grounds at Camp Pendleton. They had just completed a brutal 12 mile trek in the nearby hills and were hungry, sweaty, and tired.
The sound of clomping boots, accompanied their march toward the mess hall. At the same time, another platoon was marching directly towards them. As the other troops got closer – something odd happened. David focused on the oncoming platoon leader’s face. He looked familiar. They came to a stop facing off. David kept looking intently at the other guy, and the opposing platoon leader stared right back without breaking rank or saying a word.

It was quiet. The instructors noticed the odd behavior and the stares being passed between these two platoon leaders on the parade deck and assumed they were antagonistic and wanted to fight each other.

“Alright, if you guys want to settle something,” the instructor yelled, “you better settle it here!” and shoved David toward the other guy who said, “Sir, I can’t sir!”

The instructor asked him why not, to which he replied, “I can’t, sir.

“Why can’t you?” barked the instructor.

“He’s my brother, sir,” came the reply from David’s brother, Chris, who had joined the Marine Corps in Lewiston, just four months prior to David enlisting of Portland, Oregon.

David remembers it as a pivotal moment because they both had just completed combat training at the School of Infantry. “It was a benchmark,” said David, “because we had both made it through.” Having joined the Marines from different cities, each brother did not know where the other one was, and to meet up randomly like that – each having become a platoon leader, was just short of miraculous.

From then on, while at Pendleton, the two brothers were given an hour a day to meet up and spend time together. “I got a lot more respect from my peers,” said David, “when they realized I wasn’t just a guy out to better myself – but was part of a family that was trying to serve its country.”

And what a family! Staff Sgt. David S. Taylor can credit his family’s service record right back to the Revolutionary War, where one of his grandfather’s, about six generations removed, served. His great-grandfather William served in the Navy. His grandfather was a Marine Corps artillery man – serving in the Korean conflict. A cousin graduated from WestPoint, and another is an Army Sergeant. His brothers Chris and Aron both served in the Marine Corps as well.

David didn’t always know what his course would be. When he graduated from Lewiston High School, he was kind of at loose ends. “I didn’t know what I was supposed to do,” said David. “I guess I was waiting for some monumental moment when I would know.” An uncle said to him words that now guide his life: “If you want to be more, you’ve got to do more.” Those words, together with talks with his brothers, helped him decide his future course. “We just kind of felt something was going to happen and that we needed to be serving and ready,” said David. “Then the September attacks came and, as we spoke on the phone that day, we knew why we were serving. Chris would end up serving two tours in Iraq and I would serve a tour in Afghanistan.”

Graduating with honors from Camp Johnson’s Supply & Logistics School, David was first sent to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii where he served for three years. It didn’t take him long to distinguish himself as a leader. David advanced five ranks in two years, becoming a supply expert serving in Okinawa, Japan as well a serving in Afghanistan in 2001, where he wrote the Operation Enduring Freedom Supply Chain Manual.

David’s efforts, running a supply chain for critical procurement needs with a five million dollar a month billing cycle, helped bring uniformity to supply chain processes that earned him an award for excellence in that field in 2012 and, more importantly, helped a lot of American servicemen in Afghanistan. While in the service, David completed his B.A. Degree in Philosophy and a Master of Arts Degree in Management.

Since his days of being a north Idaho champion distance runner in high school, David has actively helped kids with athletic goals through coaching. He now serves as the National Director for High School Cross Country, at the National High School Coaches’ Association, an organization Bob Ferraro of Easton, PA founded in 1989. To learn more about that organization, visit or

In May of this year, David was honored with a recognition ceremony at the University of Idaho. To date, David has received a Marine Corps Achievement Medal (in lieu of a Gold Star); an Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Navy Unit Commendation Medal; Meritorious Masts for exemplary service, and three Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals. Pending is the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals.

David stopped by the Clearwater Tribune offices, bringing his three beautiful daughters with him: nine year old Nohealani, and her twin sisters Melia and Leialoha, both seven years old. We’re a family operation at the Tribune, so the girls enjoyed playing computer video games with my visiting grandson, coloring, and eating donuts purchased by Publisher Marcie Stanton. Marcie’s dogs enjoyed all the company.

[Note: when the 9-11 attack occurred, David’s brother Aron was in downtown New York City serving on a mission for the LDS Church. He watched as the planes hit, the towers fell, and was a part of the first responders evacuating those who were hurt. He went on his mission directly after finishing his Marine service.]

What are David’s plans now that he’s departing the military? He has decided to go into service with law enforcement back in northern Idaho. He will also be accepting a commission in the Idaho National Guard and attending the Idaho Officers’ Candidate Course in March. David really cares what happens to this country, and has plans to run as a state Senator for Idaho.

Meanwhile, David is actively forming a foundation to help disadvantaged kids get an education and has been building a website to educate fellow citizens on the purpose of government:

“Persistence,” says David “is the only thing that will tick off failure enough for it to get out of the way of your success; so persist!”

On his return from duty in Afghanistan in May of 2012, Staff Sgt. David Taylor (front row, center) was honored at the University of Idaho for his service to his country and community.

Staff Sgt. David Taylor is shown in a casual moment with troops he served with in Afghanistan. He was deployed to Afghanistan in May of 2001 where he wrote the Operation Enduring Freedom Supply Chain Manual and was in charge of a 5 million dollar per month supply budget.

This picture in Afghanistan shows the tent quarters US soldiers typically have as their shelter while serving in that country.

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