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In the service

  • Hamm, Kyle C.
    Army Pfc. Kyle C. Hamm has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.
  • Barker, Colton T.
    Air Force Airman Colton T. Barker graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
  • Sellers, David J.
    Air Force Airman David J. Sellers graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
Laura J. Gardner/The Journal Gazette
A horse-drawn caisson carries the casket of Indiana National Guard Spc. Nick Taylor outside South Adams High School in Berne on Tuesday.

Hundreds attend funeral for Berne soldier

BERNE — Hundreds of mourners packed into the South Adams High School gymnasium Tuesday to pay tribute to Indiana National Guard Spc. Nick Taylor, who was killed two weeks ago in Afghanistan.

Large American flags lined the streets leading to the high school, where family members, friends, military members, law enforcement officials, clergy and government officials gathered to celebrate Taylor’s life and honor his service during a two-hour funeral.

Taylor, 20, was killed in Afghanistan on July 16. He was working to clear roadside bombs in Kandahar Province when a rocket-propelled grenade hit the vehicle he was driving. The soldiers then were attacked with small-arms fire. One of his close friends, Spc. Sergio E. Perez Jr., from Crown Point, was also killed in the attack.

Taylor, the son of Berne’s police chief, went to South Adams, where he was on the football, track and wrestling teams.

Friends and family described Taylor as a goofy, fun-loving man with an infectious smile and a love of family and friends. They said he was a natural leader who always had a desire to serve.

Gov. Mitch Daniels said Taylor embodied the concept of the All-American Boy in his character and his commitment to his country.

Daniels said people throughout Indiana were concerned about the Taylor family, and that Hoosiers now owe a debt to them that can never be repaid.

Family members shared stories about Taylor as related to them by his fellow soldiers in the 713th Engineer Company. The group was able to watch the service online from Afghanistan.

Following the funeral, Taylor’s flag-draped coffin was taken by horse carriage to a cemetery for burial.

For more on this story, see Wednesday’s edition of The Journal Gazette or visit after 3 a.m. Wednesday.