Nicholas Van Campen (Van) Taylor (born August 1, 1972) is an Iraq War veteran and Texas Republican businessman who unsuccessfully challenged Democrat Chet Edwards, a Texas A&M University graduate, in 2006 for the United States Congress in Texas' 17th Congressional District. In Iraq, he served a Marine platoon leader.
Taylor was born in Dallas, Texas to Nicholas Cavenhove Taylor and Catherine Blaffer. After graduating from St. Paul's School, a prep school in Concord, New Hampshire, Taylor attended and graduated from Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with a degree in history. He then joined the United States Marine Corps, completed infantry and intelligence training, and served as a reconnaissance platoon leader and an intelligence officer. After his four year active duty tour ended, Taylor joined the Marine Corps Reserves. He returned to Harvard and earned a Masters of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School; he then worked for McKinsey and Company and the Trammell Crow Co. in Dallas until he volunteered for active duty service in Iraq.
He served with the Marine Corps' C Company, 4th Reconnaissance Battalion and fought with the 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company. As a Captain, Taylor led missions behind enemy lines for the 4500 Marine Task Force Tarawa, including the leadership of the Task Force's first platoon to enter Iraq before the start of the main invasion. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Taylor's platoon encountered, and defeated, several Fedayeen ambushes, participated in the operation to rescue U.S. prisoner of war Private First Class Jessica Lynch and rescued 31 wounded men-under-fire during a counter attack by several thousand Iraqi soldiers.
Taylor's military decorations include the Navy Commendation Medal with "V" for Valor, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Presidential Unit Citation. Taylor is currently a Major in the Marine Corps Reserves.