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President Biden on Tuesday awarded the Medal of Honor to a Vietnam-era Army helicopter pilot who saved four of his comrades in a daring rescue mission. Biden called it an act of “incredible” valor that positively changed the lives of four American families.
Former Capt. Larry L. Taylor, of Chattanooga, Tenn., stood patiently next to Biden during the ceremony, adorned in his black military uniform with several pins and badges honoring his years of service.
Before the president draped the Medal of Honor — the nation’s highest military award — over Taylor’s neck and shook his hand, Biden praised the Vietnam veteran for his “extraordinary” years of service.
The president devoted most of the speech to highlighting Taylor’s mission in June 1968 to successfully extract four soldiers out of a hostile war zone in a Vietnamese village.
“He rewrote the fate of four families for generations to come,” Biden said. “That’s valor. That’s power. That’s our nation at its very best.”
Biden also underscored the fact that the four families of those saved American soldiers have expressed frequent appreciation for Taylor’s rescue.
The president, however, noted that when he called Taylor to inform him of the honor and the upcoming ceremony, Taylor had humbly mentioned he needed to “do something” to earn the medal.
“Well, you sure in hell did something,” Biden said in his remarks. “Ask anyone here, I’m pretty sure they’d say you did something extraordinary.”
Taylor enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966 and served in Vietnam from August 1967 to August 1968.
He flew more than 2,000 combat missions before he left active duty service honorably in 1970 and was honorably discharged from the reserves in 1973.