Sgt. Ron Taylor: Paratrooper Missionary
After graduating high school in 1988, Ron Taylor joined the Army to serve his country. He signed up with the Army’s 82nd Airborne “All Americans.” Two years later, Taylor was selected for a rapid deployment force to fly to Saudi Arabia in preparation for Operation Desert Storm.
Taylor was a mechanic during his first deployment, and his unit was to guard against an Iraqi invasion of Saudi Arabia. In all, roughly 10 Army divisions, two Marine Corps divisions and a coalition of NATO forces fought in the Persian Gulf. A decade later, Taylor served with the 3rd Infantry Division as one of only three divisions that would spearhead the invasion of Iraq.
During Taylor’s first deployment, temperatures skyrocketed to 134 degrees during the day. When he deployed to Iraq in 2003 the extreme heat was back, but this time, Taylor, now an infantryman, manned a gun atop his Bradley Fighting Vehicle in desert uniform, chemical warfare gear and a helmet. Even then, other soldiers had it worse.
“We didn’t have (the heat) problem as bad as the dismounted guys — they were out on the sand and pavement all the time,” Taylor said. “We kept giving them our extra boots because the rubber on their boots was melting off.”
Extreme heat was the only similarity Taylor noticed between the first and second Gulf Wars.
“In the first Gulf War, I never encountered any Iraqi people. In the second Gulf War, we were in constant contact with them,” he said. “It wasn’t only fighting though. We had quite a few opportunities to do some great things for those people, and I had many opportunities to share Jesus with them. Most were really happy we were there.”
Following his second deployment, Taylor retired to civilian life after 16 years of Army service. He found it hard to assimilate back into civilian life, but he did so with a purpose. The destruction Taylor witnessed during his second time in the Middle East led him to dream of starting a world-class disaster relief organization.
“When I was in Iraq, I saw lots of destruction,” he said. “I was sitting atop my Bradley one day, and I just felt like the Lord was speaking to my heart, (saying), ‘When (disasters) like this are happening, you just need to help.’”
Taylor eventually enrolled at Liberty University to pursue a degree in intercultural studies. He said that when he joined the paratroopers, he never thought he would become a missionary. His dream is an organization with aircraft, watercraft, medical equipment, engineering equipment, water treatment and expert people to “help the helpless and give hope to the hopeless.”
“If the military is looking to get rid of a C-130, I’d like to be able to buy it and have aviators from this university to fly it,” Taylor said.
He refers to all the times Dr. Towns speaks of Liberty “starting with a dream.” Taylor plans to start with his family and his Suburban and build up to an organization worthy of the name of Christ.
“People in those towns have no hope, so what a great time to bring the hope of Jesus to them through our hands and our feet,” he said.