November 11, 2013

Date: 11/11/2013 Description: Veterans Month 2013: John C. Taylor - State Dept Image Prior to joining the State Department, John C. Taylor served in the United States Air Force, following in his father’s footsteps. After attending Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base (AFB), AL, he was assigned to Air Force Space Command and attended training at Vandenberg AFB, CA. He joined the 400th Missile Squadron at F.E. Warren AFB in Cheyenne, WY as a missileer for the now decommissioned Peacekeeper Intercontinental Ballistic Missile weapon system. A missile crew of two accepted custody of -- and was prepared to launch -- 100 nuclear warheads on each 24-hour alert shift. John had a peculiar perspective on this vocation, having previously lived for six months in Hiroshima, Japan.

John’s second assignment was test control at North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD)’s Cheyenne Mountain complex in Colorado Springs. So if you ever saw the movie “WarGames”, you have a good handle on John’s Air Force career. He was responsible for removing all test data from Air Warning systems following the September 11 terrorist strikes, and in the wake of those attacks he interpreted for the Japan Air Self Defense Force’s top general when he came to the Pentagon to cement Japan’s participation in the coalition response.

Attendance at an East Asia Regional Seminar at the Foreign Service Institute as a newly minted foreign affairs officer introduced John to the State Department. Among his reasons for joining the military was to see more of the world, but after two assignments bordering his home state of Utah, the Foreign Service seemed like a better bet. Assignments in Sweden, Indonesia, and Japan have convinced John that joining the State Department was the right move, but he will always be grateful for the privilege of serving his country in uniform.