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Saturday, November 14, 2020

Sgt. Tayaotao - Brave Cordilleran who worked as bomb disposal technician of the U.S. Marine

Cordillera - The Cordilleran warrior spirit and Igorot bravery has been reflected when U.S. Marine Sergeant Michael E. Tayaotao  chose a challenging and most risky job in the world - becoming an explosive ordinance technician of the United States Marine. 

Sgt. Tayaotao served with the 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton. 

In 2007, Tayaotao lost his life while trying to defuse a bomb he was working on in the Anbar province in Baghdad, Iraq.

According to his mom, Michael was able to clear several bombs until there was only one left that got him. 

The U.S. military told the family that Michael was defusing bombs to clear the way for a military convoy when he died. Without Michael, the lives of more officers in that convoy would have been endangered. 

A friend of Michael, Sgt. Pierce said he remembered him for his competence while disarming as many as  dozens of bombs a day in the middle of an intense firefight. 

"One thing about Mike, he always knew what was going on," Sgt. Pierce said. "If someone asked him, 'What kind of bomb was that?" he'd say, 'It has such and such parameters. You don't want to touch it."

Felix Tayaotao, his uncle, remembered him as a "straightforward guy" who, since childhood has aspired to become a military officer.

"From the time he was a child, he wanted to join the military. He was telling me before he left that, if he came back from Iraq, he was going to help us fix up the house and then go to college," his uncle said.

Sgt. Michael Tayaotao has received numerous commendations including the Air Medal, Presidential Unit Commendation and Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal.  



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