Biden to award Vietnam-era Army helicopter pilot with Medal of Honor

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President Biden will award the Medal of Honor at the White House Sept. 5 to a former Army helicopter pilot who rescued four of his fellow comrades in a daring mission during the Vietnam war.

Biden will extend the nation’s highest military service award to retired Capt. Larry L. Taylor, of Chattanooga, Tenn., a veteran who has already earned dozens of medals for his service, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal.

The White House said in a Friday press release that Taylor’s brave years of service had earned him recognition for one of the nation’s highest honors.

“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,” according to the release.

Taylor enlisted in the Army in 1966 and trained as a helicopter pilot before he was deployed to Vietnam from August 1967 to August 1968.

In June 1968, Taylor led a light-fire helicopter unit to support American troops surrounded by enemy soldiers during a reconnaissance mission near the Vietnam village of Ap Go Cong.

After the four trapped American soldiers had signaled their locations with flares, Taylor and his wingman attacked enemy positions for about 45 minutes, according to the White House.

But a plan to evacuate the patrol team men was called off because it was unlikely the soldiers could be safely airlifted out.

Facing uncertainty, Taylor directed his wingman to keep up the pressure with return fire. He then designated a new extraction point, where he landed to pick up the soldiers, risking his life under heavy fire, and safely got the troops home.

Taylor flew more than 2,000 combat missions during his career, engaged with enemy fire more than 300 times and was forced down on five separate occasions, according to his alma mater, the University of Tennessee.

Taylor left active duty service honorably in 1970 and was honorably discharged from the reserves in 1973.

He later operated a roofing and sheet metal company in Chattanooga and now lives in nearby Signal Mountain.

Taylor is the fifth veteran to receive the Medal of Honor from the Chattanooga area, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Taylor told the local newspaper that Biden called him in July to inform him of the news and the upcoming ceremony. Taylor said he was “proud” to join his fellow Chattanooga honorees on the Medal of Honor wall.

“To be mentioned in the same company as those people kind of makes you stop and think,” he said.

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