CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq – To maintain the safety of fellow service members traveling through northern Iraq, U.S. soldiers conduct counter-improvised explosive device operations, ensuring the removal of roadside bombs and the apprehension of those planting them.
Spc. Patrick Taylor, assigned to the sniper section, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, was engaged by enemy fire while conducting counter-IED operations near Tikrit, Iraq, July 12.
"Taylor and his teammate were operating in the vicinity of Tikrit at an observation point, providing [convoy] security," said Staff Sgt. Mark Filip, sniper section sergeant with HHC, 1st Bn., 5th Cav. Regt. "After two hours they were engaged by small-arms fire."
Taylor spotted for his teammate, Sgt. Jonathan Clark, team leader assigned to HHC, who returned fire, wounding one enemy.
During the firefight, Taylor radioed back to his unit for a quick reaction force, who apprehended the members of the attacking cell, including the wounded combatant.
The QRF soldiers, thanks to direction from Taylor, disrupted direct fire and IED attacks along the supply route for the coming weeks, said Filip.
Taylor, who calls Madison Heights, Mich., home, stands out as a soldier who will do whatever it takes to complete the mission, he added.
"I've had him now for over a year," said Filip. "He's the kind of guy who goes above and beyond the call of duty."
Taylor also stands out for his unique status regarding his deployment.
Taylor planned to enroll in college with a slot in the Green to Gold program to become an officer, but decided to deploy with his unit.
"He volunteered to come on this deployment," said Filip. "He dropped it all to come with us."
His quick decisive actions resulted in the destruction and disruption of enemy activity, and earned Taylor the title of U.S. Division – North "Ironhorse Strong" Soldier of the Week.