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Vietnam veteran died from effects of Agent Orange

Former USAF serviceman's cancer stemmed from conflict, inquest hears

John Garvey

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

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Vietnam veteran died from effects of Agent Orange

A DECORATED Vietnam veteran from Newbury succumbed to illness he contracted as a result of the war in the 1960s and 1970s.

Glen Taylor received many medals and commendations during his service.

But one of his tasks had been to spray the defoliant Agent Orange from his aircraft – and that left him with a deadly legacy.

Mr Taylor died, aged 73, from multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer, on October 16 last year, following a 12-year battle.

His proud family told an inquest in Reading Town Hall on Friday how, while stationed at USAF base at Greenham Common, he met a young, local woman named Marian, who was to become his wife of 33 years.

He became a father to her children from a previous marriage, Gary and Denise Anderson and Debbie Deakin.

After the hearing, Ms Anderson said: “Mum was working for the MoD in the dining hall at Greenham, running the civilian personnel there, and Glen was in charge of the military personnel. 

“Both felt that they had found their soulmate and Marian travelled with Glen to his postings, including Colorado, where they married in 1986.”

In 2009, they moved back to the UK, but by now Mr Taylor was suffering from the illness that would eventually claim his life.

The children, now grown up, had kept their home in Rowan Drive, Newbury, for them and they moved back in 2015, after Mr Taylor retired from his USAF role at RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, having attained the rank of Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt).

By now, Mr Taylor was ailing, despite stem cell transplants and other treatment.

His family told the inquest that he never complained and would drive himself to hospital for gruelling chemotherapy treatment.

The hearing was told that the US Department of Veterans Affairs had acknowledged that Mr Taylor’s illness and death were a direct consequence of his exposure to Agent Orange while stationed at the Vietnamese Phù Cát Air Base between October 1967 and October 1968.

Berkshire coroner Heidi Connor concluded: “I’m persuaded that Glen’s death was the result of multiple myeloma, likely to have been caused or contributed to by exposure to Agent Orange while working for the US Air Force. He clearly led an interesting life.”

Mrs Taylor told the coroner her husband was a “wonderful, generous man” who never complained about his illness and did not like to dwell on his wartime experience, despite receiving medals for meritorious conduct.

Mr Anderson and Mrs Deakin said the family had lost “a wonderful man” and Mr Anderson added: “The example he set us lives on.”

Ms Anderson said: “Multiple myeloma has a prognosis of a maximum five-year survival rate.

“It’s a testament to his strength of character and to his religious faith that he survived for 12 years – a fact which surprised all medical staff that treated him.”

The family said in a statement: “The other source of Glen's strength was his family: Marian, Gary, Debbie and Denise. Glen was a rock to all of them, 100-per- cent supportive through good times and bad, always ready to listen and always with good advice to offer.

“Glen was a well-respected man, with strong morals on how to live life in a way that respected those around him.

“He worked hard, but also liked to kick-back in his spare time, by barbecuing for family and friends, or watching his beloved Los Angeles Raiders play American Football.”

Mr Taylor is also survived by his two grandsons, Lewis and Owen Anderson.

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