OAN’s Roy Francis
9:11 AM – Tuesday, September 5, 2023
President Joe Biden will award Vietnam War Army helicopter pilot Captain Larry Taylor the Medal of Honor on Tuesday for his efforts to save four members of a reconnaissance team during the war.
Biden will be awarding Taylor with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday at the White House for his valor and bravery during a rescue mission in June 1968. The White House announced that the mission included a feat “that had never been accomplished or even attempted.”
During a yearlong deployment in Vietnam in 1968, Taylor had flown hundreds of combat missions in UH-1 “Huey” and Cobra helicopters. During an interview with The Associated Press, Taylor said that they “never lost a man.”
“You just do whatever is expedient and do whatever to save the lives of the people you’re trying to rescue,” he said.
On the night of June 18, 1968, Taylor, who was a 1st Lieutenant at the time, flew his Cobra attack helicopter into heavy enemy fire to save the four men after they had been surrounded by the enemy. The men who were trapped had been on a night mission to track movements of enemy troops near the Saigon River when they had been discovered.
A firefight ensued, and soon the men were running out of ammunition and being surrounded, they radioed for help. Taylor arrived minutes later at the scene, which is now Ho Chi Minh City, and asked the men on the ground to send up flares to mark their location in the night.
Taylor and a pilot in an accompanying helicopter fired their miniguns and rockets at the enemy, making low-level attack runs, despite the intense ground fire from the enemy.
After about half an hour, the helicopters were running low on fuel and ammunition. Taylor then directed the accompanying helicopter to fly back to base. Taylor fired his remaining rounds then proceeded to use his landing lights to distract the enemy, while the team on the ground made their way to the extraction point that he had pointed out.
After the team reached the extraction point, Taylor landed his two-seat helicopter under enemy fire and at great personal risk to pick up the four team members who clung to the outside of the helicopter as he flew them to safety.
“I finally just flew up behind them and sat down on the ground,” Taylor said. “They turned around and jumped on the aircraft. A couple were sitting on the skids. One was sitting on the rocket pods, and I don’t know where the other one was, but they beat on the side of the ship twice, which meant haul a–. And we did!”
According to the Army, what Taylor did that night had never been attempted before. During his service, he received a number of combat decorations including the Silver Star, a Bronze Star and two Distinguished Flying Crosses.
Taylor had left Vietnam in August 1968, and was released from active duty in 1970. He was discharged from the Army reserves in 1973 and went on to run a roofing and sheet metal company in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
A special Patriot Day and “Welcome Home” parade is planned for September 11th at 11:30 AM in the city of Chattanooga in honor of Taylor when he returns home from his trip to the White House.
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