Michael Tayaotao: US Marine, 2007

Sgt. Michael Tayaotao may be the first Igorot soldier to die while serving his country in Iraq. Our condolences to his family.

We hope to give you more details as we get them. [Edited: Link to article removed]. Photo at right is courtesy of the Tayaotao family via SFGate.com.

NOTE: Latest update is posted here.

UPDATE 10: From Trublue in the comments:
Here’s a more updated info on Michael’s last journey in Poway, California.

Viewings:
Wednesday, August 22, 2007 – 4pm to 8 pm
Thursday, August 23, 2007 – 12noon to 8pm
Venue: Poway Bernardo Mortuary located at 13243 Poway Road.

As per BIBAKNets info, the final mass for Michael is still the same.

UPDATE 9: Forwarded from Bibaknets:
Here is the latest on Michael Tayaotao as of August 16, 2007. Next Thursday (August 23), viewing and vigil will be at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Poway, 16275 Pomerado Road. Time not yet available.

On Friday (August 24), there will be an 11AM mass at the same address above. Following, will be the burial at the Dearborn Memorial Cemetery in Poway where Michael’s brother Vincent was laid to rest last November 2006. Word on the reception following the burial will be announced soon, as we go along supporting the Tayaotaos on their dark journey.

UPDATE 8: From Trublue via the comments:
To Michael’s acquaintances who have made flight reservations or who planned on driving to San Diego, California this weekend. It’s not going to happen regrettably. His remains will be flown to Sunnyvale, California on Friday (Sat Baguio time). After two or three days, he will be flown down south to Poway, California.

Exact dates of viewing and final honors/services hasn’t been set yet. Will keep you updated or send email to John Tanacio at John.sclc@gmail.com for more on time developments. Thanks.

UPDATE 7: From MSNBC: Military officials said Tayaotao’s personal awards include the Air Medal, Presidential Unit Commendation, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

From SFGate.com: Leah Tayaotao on her brother:

“Michael was an optimist and a compassionate and courageous individual,” Leah Tayaotao said. “He once said, ‘I look forward to what life has to offer.’It is Michael’s infectious laugh that everyone most admires. I am absolutely fortunate to have had a brother who has guided me through life’s challenges and reach for my dreams.”

UPDATE 6:Statement of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger:

“Sergeant Michael Tayaotao’s courage is an example of the extraordinary commitment that is displayed every day by our nation’s service members. Each time we lose a member of our armed forces, we are painfully reminded of the cost of freedom and democracy. Maria and I extend our condolences and prayers to Michael’s family and friends and honor his service in defense of our country.”

In honor of Sgt. Tayaotao, the governor announced capitol flags would be flown at half-staff. More at MSNBC.

UPDATE 5:Felix Tayaotao on his nephew, Michael: “He’s a great man, that’s all I can say. He’s a straightforward and brave man. He did what he can for his country, for his people.” More at SFGate.com.


UPDATE 4:
Messages of sympathy to Michael’s family here and here.

UPDATE 3: Official statement from the U.S. Department of Defense (released 14 August):

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sgt. Michael E. Tayaotao, 27, of Sunnyvale, Calif., died Aug. 9 from wounds suffered while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

UPDATE 2. From Trublue via the comments:
Michael is only 27 years old. His younger brother Vincent died last October 2006 while attending University of California/Irvine as a senior. My close source had spoken to Heidi (Michael’s mom), and intimated that Michael’s wish when he dies, is to be buried next to his younger brother in Poway, California. Traditionally he was supposed to be interred in a military cemetery but he signed a waiver prior to going to Iraq on a second tour.

He was supposed to go home next month, since his enlistment is up and resume his interrupted studies. Now, his life, dreams was cut short by those ever dangerous IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices).

His dad Mario is in Baguio/La Trinidad area and US Embassy personnel were able to contact him. His mom is in China Lake, California which is northeast of Los Angeles.

Heidi is from Kapangan and Mario from La Trinidad, but both grew up in Baguio/La Trinidad area.

UPDATE: As Trublue stated in the comments, Michael is a member of the U.S. Marines which he joined immediately after high school. He is the son of Heidi and Mario Tayaotao.

His remains will be flown to (or may already be in) Maryland and will be transported to San Diego, CA on Tuesday, 14 August. [Info forwarded from Bibaknets]

SOMEWHAT RELATED: For Those Who Served and Died.

32 thoughts on “Michael Tayaotao: US Marine, 2007”

  1. Holy Crap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!This is my
    best friend Mario (Wong) Tayaotao’s first son!!!!!!!!!!! He’s actually a Marine not a soldier, I just didn’t know he went back in that dump (Irao)!!! Oh my goodness!!!!! Just got goose bumps when I read your blog right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I’ve known Michael since he was born, a year younger than my son. Oh man, hope her mom (Heidi and Mario) are doing fine. I’ll call them tonight. Very sad indeed…..

  2. Hi Trublue,
    Thanks for the correction, I changed the title. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Please also offer our condolences to his family. Thanks.

  3. Hi, I’m very close to Michael and the Tayaotao family and very sensitive to this subject. I’d like to know where you got your sources from. That article is dated August 7, 2007 and what the hell is a Task Force Lightning Soldier? I know his job title in the Marines and none of those words are in his job description. And trublue, if you’ve known Michael since birth you know me. I know the both of you mean well, but for the sake of my and his immediate family, get your shit straight before posting anything.

    John M. Tanacio

  4. Bill, I don’t know how to thank you for picking up on this story so quick. Searched the BIBAK Nets with no news on him. Your blogsite is quite commendable. Here’s what I can add to your updates when you get some:
    Michael is only 27yrs old. His younger brod Vincent died last October 2006 while attending University of California/Irvine as a senior. My close source had spoken to Heidi (Michael’s mom), and intimated that Michael’s wish when he dies, is to be burried next to his younger brod in Poway, California. Traditionally he was supposed to be interned in a military cemetery but he signed a waiver prior to going to Iraq on a second tour.
    He was supposed to go home next month, since his enlistment is up and resume his interrupted studies.
    Now, his life, dreams was cut short by those ever dangerous IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices). I’m just at a loss of words considering it’s not even a year when his younger brod died, then signed a piece of paper few months later alluding to his desire of being burried next to his baby brother should he die. Then his wish became a reality so soon!!?? So eerie……
    His dad Mario is in Baguio/La Trinidad area and US Embassy personnel were able to contact him.
    His mom is in China Lake, California which is northeast of Los Angeles.
    Heidi is from Kapangan and Mario from La Trinidad, but both grew up in Baguio/La Trinidad area.
    I’m guessing his funeral is this weekend. Unbelievable turn of events. Will add updates if I get something worthwhile and meaningful. Good day everyone….

  5. Hi John,
    My apologies if the post caused you grief. The info was forwarded to us from Bibaknets. I edited the post to remove the link to the Task Force Lighting Soldier.

    This post was intended to honor him for his heroism and sacrifice. I will delete the post if so wished by his family.

    Thanks for your words, they are much appreciated.

    Hi Trublue,
    The info was actually forwarded to us from Bibaknets. Thanks for the update. I’m not sure now whether to keep this post because we don’t want to intrude on the family’s grief. Thanks again.

  6. John, just talked to your dad Frank a few hours and we had lengthy conversation. Of course, I’ve known you and Michael.
    As Bill just mentioned, his info is from BIBAKNETS apparently. Note that Bill also made corrections about his being in the Marines.
    We try not to make mistakes when we make comments, that’s why we call people to ensure accuracy of what we have to say in the net. Please refrain also from saying word like “shit”, I know you are upset as I am but there are ways to substitute that kind of word. Regards to Jean and Frank nonetheless.
    See you at the funeral if I can book my flight early….

  7. John, why won’t you have your Auntie Heidi read this blog and if she is opposed to it’s contents, Bill is very much obliged to delete the whole write-ups and comments. Or if you are the spokesperson of the Tayaotao (Wong)
    family, let Bill know.
    Thanks for your comments!

  8. I was just googling Mike’s name to see if it appeared on world news yet and this blog site came up which I’m unfamiliar with. So I was quick to dissect it. I am familiar with with bibaknets and know that someone did post something earlier. Sorry for using the “s” word. I’m not the spokesperson for Mike’s family and did not mean to come off as that person. It’s just a very difficult time for our family right now. Thank you for removing the link though and I don’t see anything that Auntie Heidi would be opposed to. All the thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

  9. Hi Trublue,
    Thanks much.

    Hi John,
    I actually appreciate your feedback. It’s a good reminder to me as a blogger to tread very carefully on matters like this. I am also at fault for not immediately mentioning Bibaknets as the source. Old readers of this blog would know that I always mention the source. But I unfortunately failed to do that in this instance (I blame the bad hangover which comes with weekend drinking). Thanks again.

  10. Pleasure is mine Bill. Oy, dahan dahan dyan sa katotoma, it has long lasting effect pala. My female doc told me just a few days ago, liver and lungs are a little bit abnormal. Told her I rarely drink anymore, and sabi nya, you’re a tomador before right?? I just kept quiet, hehe……off balance naman tayo…

    John, apology is accepted. Visit this site quite often. It’s very informative, check out the categories and various links.
    Cheers and goodhealth. Regards again to your parents and your Auntie Heidi, just remind her to be strong, I know she’s going thru a lot since last year. Hope to see you all during Michael’s wake.

  11. To the family and friends of the young Michael Tayaotao, please allow us to grieve with you even if we do not know him personally.

    I weep while reading about him and your family. I have this gnawing feeling inside right now but his life and sacrifice touch a part within us; A part that reminds us to celebrate his life in our own personal ways and resolve.

    Thank you.

  12. I’m glad that the confusion has been resolved. I felt the tension when I was reading the comments. Sir B, tama na kasi ang toma. Or make sure your mind clears before you post things hehehehe… In fairness naman, you are still doing an excellent job.

    Our condolences to Michael Tayaotao’s family and loved ones. Our prayers are with you. We may not know him, but we empathize with the loss just the same.

  13. My first time to visit this blog. I agree with Layad that whoever is the blogger is doing an excellent job.

    I also offer condolences to the family of Michael Tayaotao.

  14. Hi Trublue,
    Thanks for the brotherly warning.

    Hi Anonymous (3:20)
    I share your sentiments. Thanks for expressing them for me.

    Hi Layad,
    Thanks for the sisterly reminder and the affirmation.

    Hi Anonymous (12:43)
    Thanks for dropping by and your comment.

  15. I went to school with Mike and Vince while they were living in Ridgecrest, CA. I heard the news of Mike this past weekend through a family friend here in town, but the details she had were limited. I found this blog by doing a search on his name and gained some much needed reassurance before making calls to friends of Michael. He was such a great guy with a wonderful sense of humor and a laugh I will never forget. My deepest condolences go out to his family, in respect to both Mike and Vince. If there is any news on his funeral services I would appreciate any information. There are friends who I know would like to attend.
    Many thanks,
    Dawn O.

  16. Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers.
    Dawn, I’m Mike’s cousin and know that his friends from all over are starting to find out what happened to him. Mike was everything you explained and more. I know that his dad’s side of the family has planned a service in San Jose Wed. or Thurs or both days but he will be brought back to San Diego Fri. morning. It’s still unclear on when the burial will be but he will be buried next to Vince at Dearborn Memorial in Poway. Please leave any contact info at the e-mail address below and I’ll definitely keep you posted. Thanks again

    John

    john.sclc@gmail.com

  17. Hi John,
    Here’s a message I received thru email. I’m posting it here it case they missed the email address you posted above:

    If a family or a friend wants to talk with KGO-TV regarding the death of Michael Tayaotao of Sunnyvale, CA please call us at 415-954-7321 or e-mail us at kgotv.desk@abc.com

    We are sorry for your loss.

    Jim Huntington
    Assignment Manager
    ABC7
    San Francisco, CA
    415-954-7321
    James.Huntington@abc.com

  18. Hi, my condolences for Michael’s passing. If anyone wishes to remember him, I’m preparing a story today in the San Francisco Chronicle. A picture of him would also be appreciated (with publication permission). Henry Lee, reporter, 415-298-5969 cell, hlee@sfchronicle.com

  19. Dear friends and family of Michael,
    I can’t imagine what you folks are going through. If there’s anything you want to share with the San Jose Mercury News for a story that is being written Tuesday night, I can be reached at: jpatel@mercurynews.com or 408-271-3679.
    Take care.
    Sincerely,
    Julie Patel
    Sunnyvale and Santa Clara reporter

  20. I know this is hard for Michael’s family and all of you who are close to him.

    I’m a mother too and I can’t help to post my part of grief. Was about to sleep over it but I really can’t and made this little contribution.

    For Michael Tayaotao: Its Just You

    Such a mystic bliss our breath being one,
    With your kicks that keep me awake till dawn.
    Then you came forth dire such gripe,
    Sweet first cry all was swiped.

    Lucid childhood passed my sight,
    Walking those first steps – what a fright.
    I held you tight but had to let go,
    Scared I was to school – its just you.

    Those vigils over the chills and head so warm,
    Cough so I hear, gives me harm.
    Sleep my child I’ll be here,
    I’ll look over you with such care.

    I can’t keep those hands to stay small,
    Your feet to walk only the bounds of my wall.
    There you go again , I had to let go.
    Delve into the realms of dreams – its just you.

    Of you went but I really ache.
    I cried for your smile till I shake.
    Countless wishes, if onlys and why,
    I’ll wait for you, my hopes are high.

    Then you came in the foggy blur,
    Oh so cold, I can not cure.
    There you go again, I have to let go.
    The living end of your pilgrim – its just you.

    How many more mothers have to bare,
    That their sons they can not spare.
    All this obscurities and mischief,
    Its just you – but forever is my grief.

  21. i am from baguio. i dont know michael tayaotao or his family but i like to offer my condolence. i am touched by his sacrifice to bring peace in our world.

  22. Dear Mario and Haide:

    What I feel in this moment in time is hard to put into words. However, I would like to express my sincere condolences on the recent passing of your son Michael. Our love and support will always be here for you during this difficult time.

    Although I didn’t know Michael very well, in a few occasions that we attended he was with you. He was growing up then in small town of Ridgecrest, which is in the high desert of California. With all these years I did come to realize his great achievement in his lifetime by serving our country with pride and professionalism. Both of you were very fortunate to have a son as a model in your life.

    Please pass my deepest sympathies on to your daughter, mother, brothers and sisters.

    Sincerely,

    Roger Leprozo

  23. It was a pleasure to serve with Micheal (or Toyota as we would call him) when he was in HMH-361 “Flying Tigers”. May he rest in peace.

  24. I just recieved news from Dan earlier about Mike. The 3 of us were best of friends and hung out 24/7 since high school until Mike joined the marines. Words cant express how wonderful of a person Mike was. He is one of my best friends and I went with him the day he signed up for the marines. We were hanging out shortly after graduating high school and he originally asked me if I wanted to drop by the office to pick up some brochures but the sergeant saw us and dragged us inside. It was there that he convinced Mike to sign up and I still have regrets for not saying anything to him that day. I felt that I should have at least try and convince him to think it over before taking such a drastic step. I remember having a talk with Mike when he came back to visit and told him how guilty I felt and his words to me was “Thank you Hao for not stopping me. I love what Im doing.” Thats the kind of person he was, brave and spontaneous. He was beyond a good friend but a brother to me. The last time I saw Mike was in november and I had asked about his family and especially his brother. It was then that he broke the news to me about Vince who was also a wonderful cheerful person to be around with. My extreme condolences to the Tayaotao family.

    -Hao

  25. Rick Springs—Dear Mario, Heidi, & Leah you probably don’t remember me but Mike and Vince were both great friends of mine while we attended BHS. Mike and I were on the football
    team, I still remember when he broke his ankle or leg on that PAT…Even then he had his smile on his face. I can’t imagine the emotion you are experiencing now, but know that we are all praying for your family. God Bless.

  26. To Michael’s acquaintances who have made flight reservations or who planned on driving to San Diego, California this weekend. It’s not going to happen regrettably. His remains will be flown to Sunnyvale, California on Friday (Sat Baguio time). After two or three days, he will be flown
    down south to Poway, California. Exact dates of viewing and final honors/services hasn’t been set yet. Will keep you updated or send email to John Tanacio at John.sclc@gmail.com for more on time developments. Thanks….

  27. This is the first time in this blog and I am deeply saddened to know that a fellow Igorot who has roots from Baguio/La Trinidad has been a casualty of this war.

    Though there are no words to give comfort for his parents and family, I offer my sincerest condolences. My thoughts and prayers are with them. May the have the strength and will to continue through life after this.

  28. Tayaotao, my friend, we served 5 years together, through flight school, HMH-361 and around the world and back…I can still hear you laughing…my heart goes out to your family and friends…you were a GREAT Marine and an even better friend my brother. You are our brothers keeper.

    SGT. Brock Schielein (Moto)

  29. Bill, here’s a more updated info on Michael’s last journey in Poway, California:
    Viewings: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 – 4pm to 8 pm and Thursday, August 23, 2007 – 12noon to 8pm at the Poway Bernardo Mortuary located
    at 13243 Poway Road. I personally called up the mortuary to confirm the viewing times.
    As per BIBAKNets info, the final
    mass for Michael is still the same.
    Unless, there’s a drastic change, you’ll be notified immediately.
    Thanks….

  30. CORRECTION: SEVERAL WEBSITES INCLUDED THIS ONE STATES THAT MICHAEL TAYAOTAO IS FROM SUNNYVALE BUT IN FACT BORN AND RAISED IN POWAY CALIFORNIA.

  31. Anonymous 6:00am – in this thread, you said “born and raised in Poway, California and on the other post you said “born in Balboa”. Which is which!?

    Also, you claimed this Blog needs to be corrected for reporting late Michael is from Sunnyvale, Calif.
    Can you show me that “quote” in this blog? Maybe I missed it!

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