Located on 1,135 acres near the west Texas community of San Angelo, Goodfellow Air Force Base trained thousands of cryptologists since 1966. First called Navy Communication Training Center (NCTC) Detachment Goodfellow, the command was renamed in 1973 to Naval Technical Training Center (NTTC) Detachment, Goodfellow. In 2016, the name again changed to the Center Information Warfare Training (CIWT) Detachment, Goodfellow.
Like most military installations Goodfellow has a chapel. The name is Taylor Chapel. But who was Taylor?
Taylor was an American Hero, a man with incredible faith that saved thousands of lives, a survivor of the Bataan death march that endured 14 weeks of torture and the recipient of the Silver Star.
In September 1940, Taylor entered the military as a chaplain, and when the U.S. entered World War II 14 months later, he was transferred to the front lines on the Bataan Peninsula.
When U.S. forces were forced to surrender, Taylor was one of tens of thousands of American soldiers forced to march miles through intense heat (and through harsh treatment by Japanese guards) in what has become known as the Bataan Death March. Following the march, Taylor (and countless others) were imprisoned for 3.5 years in Japanese prison camps; during this time, he served as the prison camp’s unofficial chaplain, ministering to more than 10,000 patients — continually encouraging and inspiring them, and even smuggling in medical supplies, an offense punishable by death.
Thanks to Taylor, the death rate among patients drastically declined. But his plan was discovered, and he faced severe torture and punishment, including being placed for 14 weeks inside a 4-foot by 4-foot hot box made of tin and bamboo shafts where he was unable to lay down or stand up. It’s said that once he came out, he used it as an opportunity to rekindle the spirits of fellow prisoners, saying, “If you could turn me inside out and look at my heart, you would see a man who still believes in the power of God. I’m going to live, and you are too, because God is going to give us strength.”
Finally freed in 1945, Taylor returned to work in the U.S. as an Army Air Force chaplain. In 1962, he was promoted to major general and named Air Force chief of chaplains. As the senior chaplain for the entire U.S. Air Force, Taylor was the top advisor on religious issues to the Air Force chief of staff. He retired in 1966, and passed away in 1997 at age 87.
For his bravery in action during the Battle of Bataan, Taylor was awarded the Silver Star. On Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, the Taylor Chapel is named after him in honor and remembrance of his legacy.