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Story by: Warrant Officer Ubon Mendie - NY Guard Public Affairs
Dated: Mon, May 2, 2011
Story and photo by Warrant Officer Ubon Mendie, New York Guard
NEW YORK -- New York Army National Guard Sgt. Deon Taylor Memorial Ball Field opened in a ceremony enshrining Taylor’s name into both city and military history here at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn May 2.
Taylor’s family, Soldiers from his former battalion along with the commander, Lt. Col. Michael Hoblin joined NYPD Brooklyn Narcotics Deputy Inspector Frank Cangiarella to honor and remember the Soldier and police officer.
“To honor his final contribution, a base ball field will now bear his name,” said Fort Hamilton garrison commander Col. Michael Gould.
Taylor, a Bronx native, was killed in action October 22, 2008 from an improvised explosive device while on a combat patrol in Bela Baluk, Southern Afghanistan.
At the time of his death, Taylor was on military leave from the NYPD and attached to the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team for Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix VII, a mentoring unit which trained Afghan National Police.
During the dedication ceremony remarks were given to pay tribute, as a formation of NYPD officers and National Guard soldiers listened on. “When the time came to name the field I wanted to ensure that there was a connection to both country and community,” Gould said. “Yes, this field belongs to our base, but it also belongs to the people. Sgt. Taylor’s dedication to this city and country shows his ideals are the same as what this field represents.”
Taylor was coming to the end of his second combat deployment when he exchanged his scheduled R&R leave with another Guardsman to enable that Soldier to attend the funeral of a cousin, another member of the task force. The selfless act will be remembered as one of his last -- one of many memories many will cherish forever.
“It’s been two years since he passed” said NYPD Officer Damarr McBean, Taylor’s brother. “This is one of the things that will help us keep his memory alive.”
Following the ceremony Taylor’s son, DaRue, along with Taylor’s mother Pamela cut a yellow ribbon over a boulder that bears their loved ones name.
“As if he were here right now, I can hear Deon saying, play ball,” Hoblin said.