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Indiana National Guard confirms Berne soldier's death

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 8:01 am

The Indiana National Guard has verified the death of Berne native Spc. Nicholas Andrew Taylor Jr., who was killed with Spc. Sergio Eduardo Perez of Crown Pointe.

Gov. Mitch Daniels and Indiana National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger were officially notified Tuesday of the deaths of the Guardsmen in Afghanistan.

The two men were members of the 713th Engineer Company, headquartered in

Valparaiso and were assigned to clear military supply and combat routes, according to a news release.

They were killed Monday during an attack that included rocket-propelled grenade fire and small-arms fire in the Kandahar Province during a mounted route clearance patrol.

Taylor was born Oct. 10, 1991, in Decatur. His parents are Berne Police Chief Timothy Ray and Stephania Dawn Taylor. In 2010, after graduation from Adams Central High School, Taylor enlisted in the Indiana Army National Guard and went to basic training and 12B (Combat Engineer) MOS training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

Taylor returned to Fort Leonard Wood in April 2011 to attend the Route/Reconnaissance Clearance Operations Course in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan with the 713th Engineer Company. While deployed he was promoted to the rank of specialist (E4) last April.

Details of funeral plans have not yet been released. Berne Mayor Bill McKean has ordered flags on city offices to fly at half-staff, according to the city's website.

Trent Lehman, South Adams High School principal said Taylor was a leader, and an athlete. He played football and wrestled.

“He was a solid student who came from a good Christian family,” Lehman said.

Lehman said his family lives just down the street from the Taylors and on recent walk Taylor's parents stopped by to chat. Taylor's mother mentioned how hard it is to have a son in the military and said how they pray for him every day.

Lehman said he heard the news Monday when his mother called and told him. The superintendent of South Adams School sent out an e-mail Monday informing members of the school district of Taylor's death.