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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Navy Senior Chief Petty Offic

Source: Heroes in the War on Terror.

There is rarely a break for those chosen to be part of a personnel security detachment (PSD) team – the individuals charged with providing security and transportation for military leaders on the ground. The task requires a state of readiness 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and it requires a keen awareness on the battlefield, since any senior military leader is a high-value target for insurgents.

Chief Taggart, a submariner, was sent to Iraq in the summer of 2003 as a communications specialist. When he arrived, however, Taggart found that his background in law enforcement made him an obvious choice to take over as the Coalition Military Assistance Team’s PSD commander – a job that required him to form, train, and deploy the PSD forces. And a job that required versatility in widely diverse settings: patrolling busy streets, scouting dangerous roadways, and securing the sites before and after high-level meetings, whether in a municipal building or a palm grove.

Taggart quickly formed two five-man teams, which completed more than 200 missions stretching from Iraq’s border with Turkey and Syria down to Kuwait. Their duties were often dangerous: twice the teams encountered roadside IEDs, which forced them to clear the area, set up security, and wait for the explosive ordnance disposal teams to declare the area safe before they could move on. In one incident, Taggart was injured by an IED but refused to leave the area until the mission was complete. He was also involved in four separate firefights with enemy forces.

While it is quite unusual for a sailor to perform what would normally be considered a soldier’s job, Taggart was eager to gain the experience. “Throughout my military career, I volunteered to go many places. . . . I’ve been trying to do something different than just submarines.” For his leadership and work, Taggart received the Bronze Star with Combat “V” on March 4, 2005.

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