ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Midshipman 1st Class (senior) Taylor Connors, 24, of Pleasant View, Utah, passed away the morning of June 7 in Philadelphia with family at his bedside. The circumstances surrounding his death are currently under investigation; foul play is not suspected.
“Our Naval Academy community is mourning a tragic loss this week of a life taken far too soon – Midshipman Taylor Connors honorably served his nation as a Marine and as a midshipman,” said Vice Adm. Sean Buck, 63rd Superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy. “Through the grieving process, I encourage members of the Brigade, faculty, and staff to reach out and offer support to one another from near and far this summer. My wife, Joanne, and I, and the entire Naval Academy community have Taylor’s family, friends, and fellow Marines and midshipmen in our thoughts during this difficult time.”
Connors attended Utah Military Academy where he attained the rank of group commander, responsible for over 250 cadets. He played varsity soccer and wrestled, and was a member of the National Honor Society, and a Boy Scout. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2016, achieving the rank of corporal before receiving a Secretary of the Navy nomination for an appointment to the Naval Academy. Connors reported to Annapolis with the class of 2023 in June of 2019.
He was a member of the 23rd, 2nd, and 16th Companies, a physics major, and was on the Jiu-jitsu team. He was a member of the Semper Fi Society and competed with his company mates as an intramural sports athlete.
Connors was a leader amongst his peers. Last summer, Connors served as a Plebe Summer squad leader, a fundamental leadership role responsible for transitioning newly reported midshipman candidates from civilians to basically trained midshipmen prepared to join the Brigade. During the Fall 2021 semester, Connors served as the 2nd Company First Sergeant, working alongside the company commander and executive officer, responsible for ensuring accountability during day-to-day company operations.
“Taylor Connors was the best of us. He was a true mentor and leader among his peers but I know he saw himself as a Marine infantryman first and foremost,” said Marine Corps Maj. David R. Emison II, the Naval Academy’s training officer, and a mentor to Connors. “There is something to be said about an ethos like the one he exemplified. Taylor was intensely bright, thoughtful, and a man of faith.”
“Although I am heartbroken for his family and those of us who were fortunate to have known him,” Emison continued, “it doesn’t make me any less grateful that men like him are still called to serve. Men like him make this way of life meaningful – I am honored that I had the pleasure to know him and learn from him.”
As a Marine rifleman and an honor graduate of the Corporal’s course, Connors was assigned to FAST Company Bravo, Marine Corps Security Forces out of Yorktown, Virginia, and deployed to Bahrain and Rota, Spain. He was noted for volunteer work with a local school in Bahrain and an animal refuge in Rota, and his chain of command described him as “intelligent, a critical thinker, very thoughtful, physically tough and honest — a Blue Chip Marine.”
Connors was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and was authorized to wear the National Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2); Expert Rifle Qualification Badge (2); and Expert Pistol Qualification Badge (2).
The Midshipmen Development Center, Chaplain’s Center, and chain of command are providing grief counseling and support services to midshipmen, faculty, and staff.
Funeral arrangements are pending; information on this will be provided as it becomes available. The Naval Academy will continue to support Connors’s family, friends, and loved ones during this time of grief.