By: Lani Hansen, Senior Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma– Muscogee (Creek) citizen and Private 2nd Class John Zackary Taylor accomplished Infantry training after his company was hit with COVID-19. Taylor is the grandson of former Second Chief of MCN Shelly Crow.
The Infantry Brigade is to transform civilians into disciplined Infantry Soldiers that possess the Army values, fundamental soldier skills, physical fitness, character, confidence, commitment, and the warrior ethos to become adaptive and flexible Infantrymen ready to accomplish the mission of the Infantry, according to the U.S. Army website.
Taylor added, the Infantry training is a 22-week cycle which is longer than other Army trainings. This training is the hardest physically and demanding.
“The PT test you have to pass is called the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), and you have to pass the black standard on it which is the hardest,” Taylor said.
During training, Taylor said there was a large number of COVID-19 positive cases in their brigade and he was one. When he arrived at reception he said they had to quarantine for precaution there for about four weeks. Reception is where they learn many exercises and meet their army values and warrior ethos for a week.
“We went into Basic Training for a week, and my whole company got COVID and we all went into quarantine,” Taylor said.
They were all quarantined for two weeks before going back to training. The Infantry training took place at Fort Benning, GA. According to a statement from the Department of the Army, all future soldiers were tested and screened upon arrival to Fort Benning.
One or more of the soldiers were infected upon arrival, showing no symptoms and tested negative. Not long after, the virus spread within the company causing others to show symptoms and some asymptomatic.
Those affected were moved to quarantine in barracks. There they were provided with beds, bathrooms, showers, snacks and their cellular devices. They also had internet, board games and other comfort items. Those in quarantine received medical care daily and symptoms were monitored.
Quarantine did not stop Taylor from pushing forward in training. He called himself a motivated individual who would not quit. He has always wanted to be a part of the military.
Taylor added that choosing Infantry Brigade, he figured it would be a good career path to help him move forward in life. Taylor graduated from Infantry training earning his Blue Cord, or as they call it Turning Blue. The Blue Cord signifies Infantry Soldiers.
Earning his Blue Cord, Taylor hopes he can be a role model to other MCN citizens who might think of joining the Infantry.
For anyone who might join Taylor said, “prepare before you do, because it hit me like a brick when I got here. You just have to prepare yourself mentally and physically if you do want to go. I recommend it.”
Taylor is one of 172 Infantry Soldiers who graduated from the Echo Company 2-29 Infantry Class 0045. His next step now will be airborne school.
He hopes to make his family and MCN citizens proud as he continues his journey.