On September 5, 2023, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., will award the Medal of Honor to Captain Larry L. Taylor, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry.
On June 18, 1968, near the hamlet of Ap Go Cong, Republic of Vietnam, then-First Lieutenant Taylor was serving as a team leader of a helicopter light-fire team deployed in support of a long-range reconnaissance patrol that had been surrounded by an enemy force. First Lieutenant Taylor and his wingman arrived at the contact site and, once overhead, Taylor radioed the patrol team and asked the four Soldiers to mark their location with flares. Using the illumination as a reference point, he and his wingman strafed the enemy with mini-guns and aerial rockets. Braving intense ground fire, the two Cobra gunships continued to make low-level attack runs for the next 45 minutes.
With both helicopters nearly out of ammunition and the enemy still closing in, Taylor reconnoitered the escape route the team intended to take. Returning to the patrol team’s location, Taylor learned that a plan to rescue the Soldiers with a UH-1 “Huey” helicopter had been canceled because it stood almost no chance of success. Running low on fuel, with the patrol team nearly out of ammunition, Taylor decided to extract the team using his two-man Cobra helicopter, a feat that had never been accomplished or even attempted.
He directed his wingman to fire his remaining mini-gun rounds along the eastern flank of the patrol team and then return to base camp. Taylor fired his own remaining mini-gun rounds along the team’s western flank, using his Cobra’s landing lights to draw the enemy’s attention while the patrol team headed southeast toward a nearby extraction point Taylor had designated.
When the team reached the site, Taylor landed his Cobra under heavy enemy fire and with complete disregard for his personal safety. The patrol team climbed aboard, grabbing on to rocket-pods and skids, and Taylor carried them to a safe location before landing them back on the ground.
Taylor’s conspicuous gallantry, his profound concern for his fellow Soldiers, and his intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.
Captain Taylor was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. On June 5, 1966, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve, and entered the Regular Army on August 14, 1966. He received training at the U.S. Army Armor School, Fort Knox, Kentucky, and the U.S. Army Primary Helicopter School, Fort Wolters, Texas. On June 30, 1967, he qualified as an Army Aviator. He later served in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot from August 1967 to August 1968. Other military decorations include multiple awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal. He was honorably released from active duty on August 31, 1970, having attained the rank of Captain, and was discharged from the U.S. Army Reserve on October 17, 1973.
THE MEDAL OF HONOR:
The Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their own lives above and beyond the call of duty while:
- engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
- engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
- serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
The meritorious conduct must involve great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life. There must be incontestable proof of the performance of the meritorious conduct, and each recommendation for the award must be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.
Additional information about media credentials will be released at a later date.