NORTH OGDEN — A Weber County official is about to become one of the first known sitting mayors in state history to deploy for wartime service.
North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor, who also serves as an officer in the Utah Army National Guard, announced Monday he will be deploying to Afghanistan later this month for an anticipated 12-month tour of duty. Taylor previously served two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. He served the tour in Afghanistan while a member of the North Ogden City Council and took a military leave of absence on that occasion as well, he said.
An intelligence officer, Taylor will be assigned to serve on an advisory team training the staff of an Afghan commando battalion.
"Right now there is a need for my experience and skills to serve in our nation’s long-lasting war in Afghanistan," he said in a statement. "President Trump has ordered an increase in troops, and part of the new strategy focuses on expanding the capabilities of the Afghan commando units."
Under Utah law, a temporary mayor will be appointed by the City Council. The statute allows for a military leave of absence to be taken by elected officials called to active duty military service.
Taylor, a husband and father of seven children, said he enlisted in the National Guard just after the Sept. 11 attacks because he wanted to join the effort to fight terrorism. Since then, he said, he is proud to have served the country in a meaningful way in that ongoing battle.
"I'm honored to have the opportunity to go be a small part of hopefully bringing the war to an end," he said.
After serving four years, he was re-elected last fall and had just begun serving his second, four-year term as mayor when the announcement was made. He said the deployment had been scheduled for several weeks prior to the official notice to the public.
"So I'll miss the first year of my second term," he said. "I have full confidence that the city will continue to operate at the high level of service that our citizens have come to expect from our outstanding city staff, our very capable City Council and a soon-to-be-appointed temporary mayor."
He will also step away from his position as a member of the Utah Transit Authority board of trustees during his deployment. An interim appointment is expected to be made in his absence. As with his full-time job as mayor of North Ogden, he hopes to go back to the UTA board upon his return from active duty, he noted.
Over the years, Taylor has had to make the rapid transition from citizen to soldier and back again several times. That experience has helped him and his family become better able to make smooth adjustments between them both — and he is not alone, he added.
"I'm not unique. We have many other families and service members from the Utah National Guard and thousands across America who have sent soldiers overseas," he said. "I hope the citizens at home remember all of those service members and their families and the sacrifices they are making for our country."