Mother of decorated Green Beret, who died in military training accident, asks for prayers

·4 min read

The family of George Lindley Taber, one of two soldiers killed last week in a weather-related incident in Georgia, is asking the public for prayers.

"I have the worst news to share that I’ve ever had to unburden. My only, precious son, who was already a highly specialized Green Beret and Army Special Forces Medical Sergeant, has been taken from us through a horrendous and unavoidable accident during US Army Ranger School," his mother, Sheri Coker, wrote in a Facebook post.

Taber — also known as "Quint" — was one of two soldiers who died after being struck by a fallen tree on Yonah Mountain in Dahlonega, Georgia at approximately 3:15 p.m., NBC affiliate WXIA reported. Dahlonega is approximenyly 65 miles north of Atlanta.

2nd Lt. Evan Fitzgibbon was identified as the other soldier who was killed.

Along with three other soldiers injured in the incident, Taber Fitzgibbon were sheltering after training was placed on pause amid severe weather, Army officials told the station.

Taber was transported to an area hospital where he was later pronounced dead, officials said.

"We are extremely saddened by the loss of Staff Sgt. George Taber. We extend our sincerest condolences to his family, friends and teammates," Col. Kevin Trujillo wrote in a statement. "He was an exemplary Soldier and Green Beret and he will be sorely missed."

His mother wrote that their family learned from Taber's fellow Green Beret soldiers that the 30-year-old received honors and had unique skills about which even his parents hadn't known.

"We have learned today from multiple visits from his Green Beret brothers of honors he received and skills he had about which we knew nothing," she wrote. "Salsa dancing moves that were absolutely legendary (yes you read that correctly)... bossiness over commanders concerning their medical care... scorching the record times of his comrades up 9k foot mountains without yet having been acclimated. Oh the list we will have for you!"

2nd Lt. Evan Fitzgibbon. (Facebook)
2nd Lt. Evan Fitzgibbon. (Facebook)

Fitzgibbon was an alum of West Point, graduating just last year. The military academy shared their condolences on Facebook.

"2nd Lt. Fitzgibbon was an incredible leader of character who exemplified Army values and the West Point ideals of Duty, Honor, and Country," the statement said. "The entire West Point Community and the Long Gray Line share in this loss and are keeping the Fitzgibbon and Taber families in our thoughts and prayers."

A GoFundMe page was created for those close to Taber who need financial assistance associated with travel and work expenses. Coker noted that any residual funds will be donated to Taber's choices of charities.

According to military officials, Taber entered the Army in March 2017 and finished advanced individual training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He completed the special forces qualification course in 2018, as well as the combat medic course, military freefall parachutist course, and survival, evasion, resistance and escape course all prior to being assigned to 7th Special Forces Group at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

“Our battalion is devastated by the loss of our teammate. Staff Sgt. Taber was an outstanding Soldier and a model Green Beret,” said Lt. Col. Brockton Hershberger. “Our top priority is to support his family in any way we can.”

Taber was awarded the Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Special Forces Tab, Basic Parachutist Badge and the Military Freefall Parachutist Badge, officials said.

Though his mom asked for prayers for their family, she also requested “prayers of thanks for Quint’s selfless and motivational life.”

In a subsequent post, Coker shared her appreciation for the support sent her family's way during this heartbreaking time.

"Your kind words mean everything to my family and to me personally," Coker wrote on Facebook. "I don’t have it in me to begin to reply yet. With visits from Quint’s Chaplain and Sergeant-Major yesterday, we are learning more and more about our son’s service and relationships with his much-respected brothers."

"We are all having a rough time, vacillating between horror, memories, laughter, and devastating grief," she added. "We still have not received final reports and cannot see him (may never be able to) and that makes this more difficult to bear."

"NOTHING compares to the grief of losing a child," she continued. "Quint, George as his brothers knew him, was genuinely too big for this world. Surely God needed him for an even bigger mission to help save it. If asked, I know he is already working on it. That’s my selfless, brilliant, incredibly capable son."