Biden to award Medal of Honor to Vietnam pilot for heroic rescue: ‘Never been accomplished or even attempted’

President Biden will award the Medal of Honor, the very best army award for valor, to a Vietnam Struggle Military helicopter pilot whose rescue efforts embrace willfully flying into heavy enemy hearth to save lots of 4 members of a reconnaissance crew about to be overrun with simply seconds to spare.

On Tuesday, Biden is anticipated to acknowledge retired Capt. Larry Taylor, of Tennessee, on the White Home for his valor and bravado on show throughout a particular rescue mission in June 1968 that included a feat “that had by no means been achieved and even tried,” the White Home introduced.

Taylor flew a whole bunch of fight missions in UH-1 “Huey” helicopters and Cobra helicopters throughout a yr’s deployment in Vietnam and proudly advised The Related Press, “We by no means misplaced a person.”

“You simply do no matter is expedient and do no matter to save lots of the lives of the folks you are attempting to rescue,” Taylor added throughout an interview.


Larry Taylor

President Biden will award the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023, to retired Capt. Larry Taylor, a Vietnam Struggle Military helicopter pilot who risked his life by flying into heavy enemy hearth to save lots of 4 members of a reconnaissance crew from nearly sure loss of life as they have been about to be overrun. (U.S. Military by way of AP)

Taylor’s Medal of Honor can be awarded on the White Home for the “conspicuous gallantry” he confirmed on the evening of June 18, 1968 whereas efficiently executing a rescue mission that was initially canceled because it stood no likelihood of survival — earlier than Taylor defied the percentages.

On that evening, the Military grew to become conscious a long-range reconnaissance patrol close to the Saigon River had been found by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops and got here underneath intense floor hearth.

Then-1st Lt. Taylor, who was serving as a crew chief of a helicopter light-fire crew, flew to the extraction website in his Cobra assault helicopter and radioed the patrol crew. Each helicopters additionally fired upon the enemy with mini-guns and rockets.

“Braving intense floor hearth, the 2 Cobra gunships continued to make low-level assault runs for the following 45 minutes,” the White Home stated, noting each helicopters have been practically out of ammunition when the mission took a flip for the more severe.

Whereas flying overhead the patrol crew, Taylor was notified the plan to rescue the boys was to be scrapped because it “stood nearly no likelihood of success” with the boys nonetheless underneath heavy hearth, and the enemy nonetheless closing in, the White Home stated.

Then Taylor took motion.

Cobra gunship

The Military says the then-first lieutenant flew his Cobra assault helicopter on the evening on June 18, 1968, to rescue the 4 males. (Footage From Historical past/Common Pictures Group by way of Getty Pictures)

“Operating low on gasoline, with the patrol crew practically out of ammunition, Taylor determined to extract the crew utilizing his two-man Cobra helicopter, a feat that had by no means been achieved and even tried,” an announcement from the White Home continued.

The brand new rescue mission included Taylor and his crew exhausting the final of their ammunition and a refined diversion to distract the enemy forces whereas the patrol crew heads out a special manner. Then, the 4 patrol crew members needed to cling to the outside of the helicopter throughout the extraction.

Right here is how the White Home described the occasions:

He [Taylor] directed his wingman to fireplace his remaining mini-gun rounds alongside the japanese flank of the patrol crew after which return to base camp. Taylor fired his personal remaining mini-gun rounds alongside the crew’s western flank, utilizing his Cobra’s touchdown lights to attract the enemy’s consideration whereas the patrol crew headed southeast towards a close-by extraction level Taylor had designated.

When the crew reached the positioning, Taylor landed his Cobra underneath heavy enemy hearth and with full disregard for his private security. The patrol crew climbed aboard, grabbing on to rocket-pods and skids, and Taylor carried them to a secure location earlier than touchdown them again on the bottom.


Taylor was on the bottom for about 10 seconds. He then bought his crew and all 4 of the patrol crew members to security.

Taylor, now 81, recalled throughout an interview final week with The Related Press that failure was not an possibility. He had to determine learn how to get them out — in any other case “they would not make it,” he stated.

“I lastly simply flew up behind them and sat down on the bottom,” he defined. “They circled and jumped on the plane. A pair have been sitting on the skids. One was sitting on the rocket pods, and I do not know the place the opposite one was, however they beat on the facet of the ship twice, which meant haul a–. And we did!”

David Hill, one of many 4 members of the patrol crew that Taylor saved that evening, described the Taylor’s as “considering exterior the field.”

What Taylor achieved that evening had by no means earlier than been tried, the Military stated.

The Medal of Honor

President Biden is awarding the Medal of Honor to an Military pilot from the Vietnam Struggle who risked his life to rescue a reconnaissance crew that was about to be overrun by the enemy, dealing with nearly sure loss of life. Biden is recognizing Larry Taylor of Sign Mountain, Tennessee, at a White Home ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023. (AP Photograph/Evan Vucci)

Taylor, a local of Chattanooga, Tennessee, left Vietnam in August 1968. He was launched from Military energetic obligation in August 1970, having attained the rank of captain.

He was later discharged from the Military Reserve in October 1973.

Taylor and his spouse, Toni, dwell in Sign Mountain, Tennessee.


He has acquired scores of fight decorations, together with the Silver Star, a Bronze Star and two Distinguished Flying Crosses.

After not receiving the Medal of Honor for that harrowing evening, a number of of his supporters pushed for him to be awarded one.

Their ultimately profitable efforts spanned practically six years when Biden referred to as Taylor in July with the information.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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