Kemp receives hero’s welcome home

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Army Spc. Taylor Kemp visits with some of those who gathered at Eagle Mountain Cycles Saturday, Feb. 16 to welcome him home.

Army Spc. Taylor D. Kemp, 23, received a hero’s welcome home from a year-long deployment to Afghanistan Saturday, Feb. 16, at Eagle Mountain Cycles on Main Street in Azle.

Coordinated by David Vaughan of Azle, Kemp is the latest military honoree of Welcome Home a Hero, Vaughan’s project to provide such a welcome for any returning member of the U.S. military.

Kemp attended school in both Springtown and Azle, graduating from Springtown High School in June 2008.

He entered the U.S. Army a month later and serves with the 25th CAB.

Currently stationed in Hawaii, Kemp expects to change duty stations and relocate to Fort Hood in May. He will deploy back to Afghanistan in October for a nine month tour with no leave.

Kemp was most recently deployed to Afghanistan in January 2012, returning in Feb. 2013. Prior to that, he served in Iraq from January through September 2010.

Kemp is rated as an Aviation Operations Specialist or P-15 in the Army, and his duties are similar to those of a civilian air traffic controller – he tracks aircraft coming in and out; processes local and cross-country flight clearances; checks accuracy of flight plans and coordinates them; maintains flight logs on incoming/outgoing flights and individual flight records; alerts crash crews of emergencies; and interprets and posts weather reports.

Kemp’s mother, Lisa Taylor Leal, said Kemp was home in the area from Feb. 1-21 before returning to his home base in Hawaii.

“He got to spend a lot of time with family,” Leal said. “I’m happy he’ll be at Fort Hood soon so we can spend more time together.”

Anyone who knows of a returning service man or woman is encouraged to contact Vaughan at 817-713-4931. He will gladly make arrangements for a Welcome Home a Hero event for each one.