Family

‘If Only the World Had More People Like Your Son’

American volunteer, a former Marine and native of Orlando, Florida, killed in the brutal battle against ISIS

The YPG Press Office announced this week that David Taylor Jr., a 25-year-old American volunteer, has been killed fighting ISIS in the Islamic State’s capital city of Raqqa.

Taylor, a former Marine, traveled to Syria earlier this year and joined the YPG’s fight against ISIS in May. The YPG (Yekîneyên Parastina Gel: People’s Protection Unit) is a militia made up mostly of Kurdish fighters, but it also has Arabs and Westerners within its ranks. The YPG has been the United States’ preferred ally in Syria, receiving training and equipment from United States Army Special Forces soldiers.

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Taylor grew up in and graduated high school near Orlando, Florida. After studying philosophy in colleges in Florida and West Virginia, Taylor joined the United States Marine Corps, where he deployed in support of combat operations in Afghanistan. His service in the Marine Corps also took him to South Korea, Japan, and Jordan.

After serving for four years, he was honorably discharged last year. While serving with the YPG, Taylor reportedly went by the name of Zafer Quereçox.

According to the YPG statement, Taylor was “loved among his comrades” and was an “expert at what he did.”

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Taylor’s father, David Taylor Sr., stated that he was informed of his son’s death by a U.S. consular chief from Kurdistan, Iraq.  The U.S. States Department confirmed that it has received reports of an American being killed while fighting ISIS in Syria, but did not elaborate or offer further comment. According to one of his friends, Alex Cintron, Taylor was killed by an improvised explosive device on July 16.

Earlier this month, Americans Nicholas Warden and Robert Grodt were killed on the outskirts of Raqqa, also while fighting with the YPG. Warden was an Afghanistan combat veteran who had also served in the French Foreign Legion. Grodt had no known military experience. Also killed in the fighting was a British man named Luke Rutter.

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It is currently unknown exactly how many Americans are fighting alongside the YPG; however, there have been an estimated dozen Americans killed since the fighting began.

The presence of Americans embedded with the YPG has caused international tensions, as American and NATO ally Turkey officially identifies the YPG as a terror group. The State Department’s official position is one of discouragement of American citizens traveling to Syria to join the fight against ISIS.

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In perhaps the most fitting and poignant tribute, Taylor’s father told the Associated Press his son “loved his country. He loved democracy. He had a mission, to go over there and advance democracy and freedom like we have it over here. It came at a horrible price.”

God bless you, Mr. Taylor. If only the world had more men like your son.

Semper Fi.

Chris Erickson is a former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier and an OpsLens contributor. He spent over 10 years in the Army and performed multiple combat deployments, as well as various global training missions throughout the world. He is still active in the veteran community and currently works in the communications industry. This OpsLens article is used by permission.

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