Wounded SC National Guard soldier reunites with family - FOX Carolina 21

Wounded SC National Guard soldier reunites with family

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Spc. Travis Taylor spends time with family and friends in Simpsonville. (Aug. 18, 2012/FOX Carolina) Spc. Travis Taylor spends time with family and friends in Simpsonville. (Aug. 18, 2012/FOX Carolina)

A South Carolina Army National Guard solider injured in an attack while in Afghanistan returned home to the Upstate and was reunited with his family Saturday.

Spc. Travis Taylor, 23, spent five years serving the South Carolina National Guard before he was deployed to Afghanistan in April. Only a few months after he was there, he said his vehicle was slammed into by another vehicle operated by Taliban forces while his team was driving back from a mission.

Taylor survived the attack, but he said another did not.

"When we got hit I flipped over the vehicle, and I landed on my back," said Taylor. "Then everything slowed down, I didn't understand what had happened."

Both of Taylor's legs were broken in that July 19 attack. He said the ambush also killed a friend.

"My interpreter, he wasn't as lucky as I was," said Taylor. "He flipped over the vehicle and landed on his neck. They say he passed away instantly and didn't feel any pain. I hope that's true, he was a good guy."

Taylor was still wheelchair-bound Saturday, but after nearly five months of waiting he got the moment he was hoping for. The chance to enjoy good food at Anthony's Pizzeria in Simpsonville with his family, just like old times.

It was a tradition for the family to eat at the restaurant after church on Sundays before he was deployed. Saturday it was easy to see he couldn't keep the smile off of his face.

"I'm really lucky, I don't know what I'd do without them," said Taylor.

But it's Taylor's family members that say they're the lucky ones, thankful that Saturday was full of joy.

"He's just like my hero," said Taylor's cousin Lucas Farmer. "It could have easily gone the other way."

"I'm relieved he's back in one piece, that he's alive," said Taylor's uncle and guardian since he was 13, David Laird. "We're grateful for that."

The family said they're not surprised that Taylor has become a real-life hero.

"He always wanted to be in the military, we used to play army men together," said Taylor's cousin Johnny Paulicelli. "He wanted to do something for our country."

Taylor's family also said that this close call should serve as a reminder of what our service men and women do for us all.

"It's very different, when you are close to it," said Angela Laird, Taylor's aunt and guardian. "It is different, people just don't think about this kind of stuff on a day-to-day basis."

Taylor will continue to receive to physical therapy, but he will only be home for about another month. He is expected to make a full recovery.

While in Afghanistan he served in an agricultural security division.

Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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