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Utah Soldier Fighting in Fallujah

Utah Soldier Fighting in Fallujah

Posted - Nov. 14, 2004 at 5:22 p.m.



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Tonya Papanikolas reportingA family from Hooper, Utah waits to hear from their son who's fighting in Fallujah.

"Last time I talked to him, he said he knows this is what he's supposed to do. He knows this is his calling," a family member says.

Sgt. Ryan Taylor is a sniper with the U.S. Marines. He's right in the thick of the fighting, and he hasn't been able to contact his family lately. But he tells us they're not extremely concerned.

His parents say Taylor is highly trained. He's been to Iraq before, and his parents can't just sit around driving themselves crazy worrying about it.

His mother has had a hard time watching the news. But she says she believes her son is okay.

The heaviest fighting in Fallujah is over, with only a few pockets of resistance left. It's been a bloody week for American soldiers-- at least 28 were killed battling insurgents.

That's news the Christensen family doesn't like to hear, since their son, Ryan Taylor, is a U.S. Marine sniper stationed in Fallujah. They haven't talked to him since the fighting intensified.

Sue Christensen/ Mother of Soldier Fighting in Fallujah: "No news is good news. I haven't heard anything, so I'm assuming he's okay."

This is Sgt. Taylor's second tour of duty in Iraq. He also spent about seven months in Baghdad. But he told his family the job's been harder this time around.

Paul Christensen/ Stepfather of Soldier Fighting in Fallujah: "They got a lot more of the car bombs and sneak attack things, and he says that's why it's a little more dangerous now."

Sue Christensen: "This was one of the few and only letters I got when he went to Baghdad the first time." "This is one of my most treasured moments. That, and the fact that he came home okay. So he will this time, too."

Taylor joined the marines when he was just 17. But he loved the military even before that.

"His favorite clothes were camouflage. His favorite toys were Rambo and GI Joe men."

Taylor started duck hunting at a young age, and loved to sleep in the barn. You can still see fragments of a bebe gun in the loft, and part of an army blanket on the wall.

Taylor and his wife are now expecting their first baby. He likely won't be back in time for the birth, but he believes he's where he's supposed to be. And his family can't argue with that.

"I love him and I'm proud of him."

The Christensens say they loved hearing today's news that U.S. soldiers have taken control of Fallujah. They look forward to their son's return home, probably in early April.

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