Bottom line up front:
I asked for, and received, permission from the staff* here to open this thread in hopes of raising money for a U.S. Army Sergeant First Class (a Platoon Sergeant) that is facing charges of negligent homicide and dereliction of duty.
The Soldier in question, Walter Taylor, wisely in my opinion, hired a civilian attorney and regardless of the outcome faces some stiff legal bills to the tune of$35,000.
Here’s my short version of events that led this Soldier to these charges and why I feel, strongly, that this Soldier is wrongly accused.
Sgt. 1st Class Walter Taylor’s platoon, a route clearance package (a convoy that looks for roadside bombs), was conducting operations in Afghanistan when they were hit by the biggest bomb they had ever encountered wounding four. As was typical, after the bomb exploded, they were then attacked with small-arms fire from insurgents. During the firefight something very, very strange happened. A black sedan drove onto the battlefield, leading many (if not all) to believe the car was part of the attack. Some even reported, incorrectly, seeing muzzle flashes from the sedan. The car was engaged with heavy weapon mounted on the platoon’s vehicles and quickly came to a halt.
After seeing that the injured soldier’s were medically evacuated Taylor and a group of 3 other individuals began to search for the command wire (the wire by which the road-side bomb was detonated). They quickly found it and began to trace it back towards its origin. Strangely it seemed to lead directly toward the black sedan. Shortly before they located the wire the sergeant had been warned, verbally, by his platoon leader to be weary of a suicide bomber in the car. That type of attack had been recently reported in the vicinity of their area of operation.
As the Soldiers followed the wire, which was buried inches under the ground, they came closer and closer to the car. While reports differ when the platoon came somewhere between 25 and 10 meters from the car a person leapt from the passenger-side rear door of the car and rushed toward the rear of the car.
Taylor shot that person.
That Taylor shot the person is not in question at all, he freely admits it. What he, and his attorney, say in his defense is that he only had mere seconds to make that decision. If he had not shot and the person had been a suicide bomber, he and the men with him would likely be dead.
I’m a retired U.S. Army First Sergeant and I work as a Department of the Army Civilian as a public affairs specialist, the same job I did on active duty. In the course of my duties I have attended many court marshals and can honestly say that until I went to this young man’s hearing I never encountered a defendant that I didn’t basically feel was guilty.
I obviously can’t say that this time. I 100% believe Taylor did the right thing to protect his men, himself and to accomplish the mission. It’s dreadful, tragic even that an innocent person was killed that day in Afghanistan but the fog of war is just that, not all things are crystal clear as they are happening.
$35,000 collectively is nothing, its budget dust if everyone takes a moment and donates $5, $10 or even $30. For $30 you get a bumper sticker that says “I support SFC Taylor” which hopefully becomes a pointless statement once the $35,000 is paid in full.
I sat through three days of testimony and have been in touch with the person running both the donation site and the ‘facebook support page’. She, I’m 100% certain, is legit.
I’ll do my best to answer any questions you might have regarding this case and the funds I’m asking everyone here to donate. If you cannot donate, maybe you can share this with friends and family on facebook or even send me a PM with a suggestion on how I can ‘get the word out.’ I’ll take whatever help I can get.
Finally, why bring this here? There’s no emotionally compelling you tube video to generate support. Efforts I’ve undertaken so far have helped a little but obviously not enough. While I’m not an account holder from 1999 and I don’t post here every day, I do read here daily. Given the boards history I think this is something that might generate help for this Soldier.
A website has been created to accept donation toward his legal defense fund and there is also a way to directly pay-pal the soldier in question. Seriously if somone here gives $5 bucks and 10 people push it into their face book feeds, I’ll be happy.
The site accepting donations and the pay pal information can be found here, note they are woefully short of their goal:
- The STMB staff holds no views on the merit of this case.
P.S. thanks to Girafe, Mean old Lady and Marley for helping me with this …
Donation site here.