A former Marine was so passionate about fighting the war against ISIS that he ended up secretly traveling to Syria to fulfill his heart’s wish.
David Taylor, 25, joined a Kurdish militia group where he died fighting this month, Associated Press reports.
The Florida resident kept his plans to fight the terrorist group a secret from his family, telling only a high school friend who vowed not to tell anyone. Taylor’s father said on July 25 that he had no idea about his son’s plans until he had already arrived in Syria last spring and started training with the Kurdish militia group known as YPG.
The father, David Talor Sr., said he got a sudden email that said “Pops, don’t worry. I’m with the YPG.”
“I’m doing the right things. It’s for their freedom,” his son told him via email, AP reports.
Taylor Sr. said he could understand why he left, saying that when his son set his mind on something, he always saw it through.
“There was no middle ground. He wasn’t wishy-washy,” the father added.
The news of the son’s death was first revealed through a video released by a Kurdish militia group that said Taylor was “martyred fighting ISIS’ barbarism” on July 16, AP reports.
“He loved his country. He loved democracy,” the father said. “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.”
The U.S. State Department said in a statement that it was fully aware of the reports of a U.S. citizen killed while fighting in Syria but had no further comment.
Taylor’s father said his family only found out about the death last weekend after a U.S. consular official told them what had happened.
The son’s high school friend, Alex Cinctron, also emailed the father after learning the news of the death. The friend said Taylor told him he believed ISIS needed to be stopped after visiting his home in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida, last February.
In the email, Cinctron explained how Taylor told him about the “atrocities” he had witnessed in the Middle East during his Marine years, AP reports.
“He said to the effect that ‘ISIS was the bane of modern existence and needed to be stopped before they destroy any more lives and priceless works of human achievement,'” Cintron said in the email.
Cinctron also wrote that his friend died from an improvised explosive device. The YPG video offered no details on how Taylor died.
Taylor grew up in Ocala, Florida and attended college in Florida and West Virginia before joining the Marines. He was deployed in Afghanistan, Japan, South Korea and Jordan before he was discharged last year, said Taylor’s father.
After the discharge, he came back to the United States and visited family and friends in Florida and West Virginia.
The consular official told Taylor Sr. that the YPG is paying all transportation costs to send Taylor’s body back home to be reunited with his family, AP reports.