U.S. Army Major Jason Taylor received a Bronze Star for exceptional service during his 2007 to 2009 deployment to Iraq. While the medal cites his service throughout the deployment, Taylor believes that in particular it was his participation in the three month fight for Sadr City, that earned him recognition.
As Fire Effects Cell Battle Major, Taylor coordinated operations for lethal and non-lethal fires, working to ensure that fire power was being used effectively and accurately.
Based at Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Taylor worked closely with the other branches of the military to coordinate everything from fixed wing operations with the Air Force to helicopter aviation operations with the Army, to unmanned aerial vehicles operations.
In the three month long battle for Sadr City, Taylor worked from the Command Information Center (CIC) with the soldiers on the ground, he said.
The ground forces would move into the area where the enemy was located, he said.
“The bad guys would shoot out of there. It was like a sanctuary for them,” he said.
The soldiers on the ground would communicate with Taylor in the CIC. And using technology Taylor could get visuals of the area those soldiers didn't have. Working together, they could aim rockets and other firepower into the right areas of Sadr City, he said.
“The guys on the ground would tell us where they wanted to shoot. We would work up a fire mission for them, and send it to the Multiple Launch Rocket System team,” he said.
Commissioned in May of 1997, Taylor said he had always wanted to join the Army.
“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” he said. “It was a family tradition. My father and grandfather served.”
Taylor's father served in the Marine Corps, and his grandfather served in the Army, he said. His other grandfather was in the Air Force.
Of the men and women he served with, Taylor said “it was a very good group. Everybody worked well together. Everyone was good at their job and knew what to do, --from private on up to general.”
“It was a good job. I learned a lot of good stuff,” he said. “You get to see stuff you wouldn't normally see.”
The best part he said was “that we were helping protect the guys who were actually on the ground.
“You sometimes get a feeling of guilt that you're not there with them. But hopefully you're saving lives.”