LUBBOCK, Texas – Col. Terence G. Taylor, wing commander of Cannon Air Force Force Base in Clovis, New Mexico, sat down with KLBK’s Matt Stell.
Matt Stell: We’re coming up on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. A lot of us can’t even realize that it’s been 20 years. Talk about your experience with 9/11. What about those events that may have changed you as a man as a person, and as a service member?
Col. Terence G. Taylor: It’s interesting you know because no matter at what point in history or your designated time of service, everyone’s experiences are shaped a little bit differently. I just so happened to be a new Lieutenant at my very first operational assignment when the September 11 attacks of September occurred and that has shaped my career. It absolutely has. It’s insane for many of my peers. There are airmen, many airmen now in the Air Force who were not in the Air Force and weren’t even born when 9/11 happened. So like you said, it’s certainly been a unique experience for me. I remember that day. I remember it vividly. I remember waking up and I was supposed to go fly a training mission that night there in Florida where I was stationed and the commander called me and he said ‘stay at home and be ready for when we call you.’ I found myself deploying to the Middle East within a month after that and that started a series of deployments and rotations in the Middle East, in Afghanistan in particular. Since then, I’ve actually had the opportunity to command in Afghanistan as well, serving as a Component Commander for our Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component and that gave me the opportunity to view things through a little bit of a different lens as well. I had the opportunity to work not just with our Air Force folks, not just with our fellow joint military members, but coalition members, as well as partner members, and really gain an understanding of the bigger picture and bigger things at play there in Afghanistan. So to answer your point, or your question, Afghanistan has served to shape my career in a tremendous way. Not just through expanding my outlook in the way that I look at things, but also opportunities for flying, for leadership, and the opportunities to lead our Airmen, not just here in garrison, but in combat as well.
On the topic of your deployment, do you think the world is safer because of the work that we’ve done in the Middle East?
Col. Terence G. Taylor
Without question. Without question. That’s something that we take great pride in. As military members, we obviously want to leave things better than the way than how we found them, and I think over the years, we have had the opportunity to do that and our airmen have served extremely well in that capacity. None of us could’ve predicted where we are right now. But as a military member, we largely serve to at the behest of the President and the rest of the nation and we’re here to react to those things as they come. So, looking back on my time here, I am nothing but proud of the service that I and those that I’ve had the opportunity to serve with have done in Afghanistan and we’re looking forward to best posturing to move forward in that capacity as well.
Thank you sir. Good luck to Cannon.
Col. Terence G. Taylor
Thank you very much.