FORT RILEY, Kan. — Sources report that Maj. Justin Taylor, a staff officer in the Big Red One (1st Infantry Division) G3 (operations and plans) shop, made the mistake of going into his garage and looking at his faded combat gear after PT this morning, reducing him to tears.
“I used to be a soldier,” neighbors reported him muttering over and over again while he clutched a tattered VS-17 panel tied to a rock that he’d used to shift the fire of his M240B machine gun teams on Objective Anvil during the battle for Mosul. He also served as a Bradley platoon leader in the infamous “Thunder Run” to Baghdad during the 2003 Iraq invasion
Taylor, whose job consists primarily of making sure PowerPoint slides are the proper color and font demanded by the latest colonel to take over as the G3, and occasionally making a run to the commissary to buy more K-Cups for the communal machine, was an infantry officer who served two tours in Iraq and three in Afghanistan, before arriving at his current assignment.
According to a witness, Taylor was staring at the mismatched and stained DCU ammunition pouches hung on his woodland body armor when he burst into tears.
The day of Thunder Run, Taylor earned a Silver Star. His former commanding officer, Lt. Col. William Turner, said the award was “for single-handedly wiping out two enemy RPG teams with hand grenades and smalls arms fire. That crazy sonofabitch also saved the lives of three wounded soldiers.”
“After we’d clear an objective I used to bring my lieutenants around and go over the finer points of close quarters combat and the art to breaking an enemy formation. Now I mentor my subordinates with slide shows about how to make proper slide shows,” Taylor sobbed.
Eventually the Major composed himself and changed into his ACUs, stopping at Kinko’s to pick up a set of placards so everyone at the bi-weekly meeting would know exactly where to sit.
His co-workers seemed confused by the officer’s breakdown.
“I don’t know what all the fuss is about. He’s [Taylor] great at his job. His coffee tastes better than anyone’s and the Colonel loves those little flavored waters he buys for the staff synch,” said MSgt Charles Moore, the S3 shop NCOIC. “I’ve been on staff for almost 12 years. He’s the best we’ve ever had. I guess some people just crack under the pressure.”