MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, NC --
For the support and dedication he and the Marines in his charge displayed while serving in Afghanistan with the 3rd Georgian Brigade, Maj. Stephen J. Taylor, commanding officer of Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, was recently awarded the Republic of Georgia's Ministry of Defense Award.
When he first arrived at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan as the liaison detachment’s officer-in-charge, Taylor was immediately placed in charge of 28 Marines and was instructed to establish a detachment capable of executing logistical and operational tasks allowing Marines to better enable the Georgian battalions working alongside the Marines.
“They were mainly a maneuver element that allowed us to better control our large area of operations,” said Taylor. “Additionally they also worked with Marines a number of times, conducting patrols and helping clear roads of [improvised explosive devices].”
Helping integrate the Georgian soldiers into the rhythm of the Marines conducting operations in the area, as well as working to equip the Georgians with the necessary tools, weapons and vehicles for the operations were some of the biggest successes of Taylor and his Marines while in Afghanistan.
“The Georgians had to overcome a number of challenges,” said Taylor. “They had to overcome a steep learning curve working with new equipment as well as a new environment. After a few months however, they started to really get their bearings and did some really good things.”
Along with conducting patrols and assisting with force projection, one of the Georgian’s greatest achievements during 2011 was clearing a major highway of several IEDs that had continuously plagued allied forces in the area. “I really enjoyed working with the Georgians,” said Taylor. “They had a very good work ethic and with their support we’ve managed to establish a foundation for any future contingencies in the area.”
Taylor was presented with the award at Virginia Beach, Va., by Georgian Lt. Col. Lasha Beridze, deputy chief of defense, Republic of Georgia Ministry on Dec. 13, 2011.
“The award was unexpected,” said Taylor. “I don’t feel like I did anything special. We wouldn’t have gotten anything done if it wasn’t for all of the hard work and dedication from the Marines that had been with me while I was in Afghanistan.”