The New Zealand Defence Force has named the member of the Special Operations Force who died this morning during a maritime counter-terrorism training exercise as Sergeant Wayne ‘Tails’ Taylor.
Sergeant Taylor joined the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment as a member of the Army Reserve in 1993 – joining the Regular Force in October 1997.
He served in East Timor and Afghanistan and was awarded the NZDSM (TF), East Timor Medal, UNTAET – East Timor, NZOSM, NZGSM, NZDSM (RF) and NATO ISAF (Afghanistan) medals.
Sergeant Taylor is survived by his wife and four children.
New Zealand’s Chief of Army Major General Peter Kelly said many of the Regiment, both RNZIR and NZSAS, would remember Sergeant Taylor as an outstanding soldier, leader, father, family man and friend to many, as well as being an all-round top bloke.
“He was a consummate professional, who was known for his dedication and reliability – always upholding our core values in every endeavour,” Major General Kelly said.
“I know that his family, friends and workmates will be keenly feeling the loss of a husband, father and friend.
“My thoughts are with them all over the coming days and weeks.”
Sergeant Taylor’s family are being supported by members of New Zealand Special Operations Force and the New Zealand Army.
An NZDF spokesman said police are investigating Sergeant Taylor’s death on behalf of the coroner, so it would be inappropriate for NZDF to make further comment at this time.