Based: Camp Pendleton
7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: August 9, 2007
High School: Fremont High (Sunnyvale)
Burial: Dearborn Memorial Park Cemetery, Poway, Calif.
Tayaotao joined the Marine Corps straight out of high school in 1998.
He was an explosive ordnance disposal technician, a job that he sought because of the challenge and the risk.
"He did the training, and he found that he liked it because it was more challenging," said his mother, Heidi Tayaotao of Ridgecrest. "He knew it was risky -- but that's what he liked."
His mother … said the military told the family that her son was defusing bombs to clear the way for a military convoy when he died.
"My understanding is that he was able to clear all of them until there was only one left, and then something happened," she said.
Cpl. Ben Eberle, a Marine spokesman at Camp Pendleton, said such jobs are strictly volunteer. "You can't just come into the Marine Corps and have that job," he said. "You move into that job after serving in another field."
He leaves behind his parents, Mario and Heidi Tayaotao, and his sister, Leah. His younger brother, Vince, died in November .
Vistit Sergeant Michael E. Tayaotao's Guest Book here, and read more about him here, here and here.
Marine Sergeant Michael E. Tayaotao previously remembered at Boom3 on Monday, August 9, 2010.