Community mourns hero soldier who died fighting Islamic State terrorists in Syria

Best friend says David Taylor II left the world better than he found it
By: Amanda Hayes/Senior Staff Writer – The Record Delta

BUCKHANNON — “Who brings two Shakespeare books to a war?”
The same person who loved literature, history, ancient Greek philosophy and constantly read up on unfamiliar topics to continue his education.

David D. Taylor II was remembered Saturday during a two-hour memorial service at Jawbone Park that paid tribute to his military service in the United States Marine Corp; to his service alongside others in the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, where he ultimately lost his life on July 16; and to his love of literature and music that his friends and family knew well.
Mayor David McCauley welcomed those in attendance to the ceremony, which took place in the same park where David D. Taylor II’s banner has flown for several years in the Walk of Valor.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Sunday, July 16 is a significant day in history for our small community as we lost a son who was killed in military combat action in Raqqa, Syria,” McCauley said.
“Today, we send a loud and clear message that America’s relentless defense of liberty and freedom and pursuit of who take to violence to threaten our nation, our allies and our way of life will forever stand strong.

“David’s distinguished and remarkable military serve as a United States Marine as well as with his subsequent volunteer service with the YPG in the People’s Protection unit from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces along with the entire United States-led global coalition fighting to destroy ISIS, remained bold with courageous and dedicated service. ISIS threatens all of our nations, not just Iraq and Syria, but in our homeland as well.”

Alex Cintron said, “David was my best friend for the majority of my life and I want to thank his family for allowing me to talk about the real David. “
Outside of David Taylor II’s military service and service in the YPG, Cintron said there was so much more to the best friend who he also called a brother.

“We live in a world characterized by ever increasing hostility, indifference and intolerance, partisanship and division where people simply can’t even be friends any more because of their differences in political ideology.

“David Duane Taylor II was above all of that,” Cintron said. “He didn’t judge anyone. He simply assumed you on the merit of your character, the quality of action and speech and that’s how he determined whether or not he would be your friend.
“What made him so successful as a leader was even those he could not befriend, he still knew how to get along with and tolerate. That is something that is so lacking in this world.
“Many of you might be wondering why he did what he did,” Cintron continued. “The answer can be found in one of his favorite topics in ancient Greek philosophy.

“Socrates was among our favorite and we both had a quote we enjoyed very much which was ‘I am not an Athenian, nor Greek but a citizen of the world.’”
Cintron said when David was in the military and in the Middle East he saw the atrocities that took place and wanted to do his part selflessly and courageously.
Quoting from another person David II looked up to, Winston Churchill, Cintron said David II understood “the problems facing us today can’t be taken on alone. We have to work together to face the challenges of our society.”

“In order to defeat great evil, we have to come together as a global community,” Cintron said. “David always understood that….he was not the kind of person to sit idly by while other people suffered. He would have done anything for anybody.”

Finally, Cintron said he was one of the first to know that David II was joining the YPG.
“David once told me that the most important thing in life is just to figure out what makes you happy. For anyone that harbors any sort of regret or feelings of disagreement about what he did and the risks he took, I can promise you this, it made him happy.

“We over complicate this life task. He said, “It’s actually pretty simple. You find out what is wrong with the world. You figure out what you can do to fix it. You do the best you can to be happy. You try to leave the world a better place than you found it. I absolutely believe that David D. Taylor II has done that.”

Mary Albaugh said, “You may have heard the phrase, “once a Marine always a Marine. I didn’t get that that true meaning until now. But [David II] got it and he had the deepest respect for others who were suffering under tyranny of monsters. He knew it was wrong how people were being not just killed but tortured by all manner of horrific ways .That is when “Once a Marine always a Marine’ gets involved in the fight for freedom and lives of others.”
Councilman C.J. Rylands, who also owns C.J. Maggie’s, said David D. Taylor II is on the short list of former employees who never missed work or caused drama.

“David was liked and appreciated by all of us and our employees,” he said.
David II served in the United States Marine Corps from November 2012 to September 2016 and was honorably discharged from active Corps service with the rank of Corporal. He then joined the Corps Reserve.

During his time in the Marine Corps, David II earned the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan and Sharpshooter Rifle Qualification badge.
He participated in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan from April 29, 2014 to Nov. 7 2014.

One of David II’s former commanding officers, Lt. Col. Giles Walger recalled David II’s service in Afghanistan.

“David like all of us, knew that the job was not done,” Wagner said. “He was an integral part of our team. He worked a shift in our joint operations center alongside British soldiers and Airmen. He got along tremendously well.”
Walger said David II’s positive attitude was “relentlessly contagious” and that one was his tasks to wake Walger or the operations officer when needed to make decisions.
“He never failed me,” Walger said. “We protected the innocent, we killed the enemy and we brought everyone home.”

But it was those late-night talks that Walger said he got to know David II well.
“He was incredibly well-read, passionate and loved nature,” Walger said. “We talked about hiking the Appalachian Trail and the Rockies.”
Walger said David II wanted to experience life and he had even encouraged the young Marine to re-enlist and apply to be an officer.

“I think he would have made a great officer,” Walger said. “Leading Marines like David will always be one of God’s great rewards in my life. There will always be one David but there are 182,000 Marines just like him. I hope they learn from his great example and his experience.”
Sen. Greg Boso, R-W.Va., called David II a true West Virginian.
“Though he wasn’t born here, he exemplified everything that West Virginia is about,” Boso said.

“When West Virginians suffer or when people around the world suffer, West Virginians step to the plate and serve. When we have the opportunity we work in those areas where we can help the cause of freedom and liberty. David did just that.”