As an Army first lieutenant and Cobra helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War, Larry Taylor flew hundreds of missions and saved countless lives. But no rescue flight was as daring, or as meaningful to Taylor, as the one for which he will receive the Medal of Honor from President Joe Biden.
Biden will recognize Taylor at a ceremony next week, the White House announced Friday.
On the night of June 18, 1968, Taylor took off in his attack helicopter to rescue a four-man, long-range reconnaissance team that had become surrounded and was in danger of being overrun by enemy troops. He had to figure out a way to get them out or “they wouldn’t make it.”
David Hill, one of the men Taylor saved that night, said Taylor’s actions were what “we now call thinking outside the box.”
Hill and the three others were on a night mission to track the movement of enemy troops in a village near the Saigon River when they were found by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. An intense firefight ensued and soon they were running out of ammunition. They radioed for help.
Taylor flew off in his attack helicopter, arriving just minutes later at the site northeast of what at the time was Saigon, since renamed Ho Chi Minh City. He asked the patrol team to send up some flares to mark their location in the dark. Taylor and a pilot in an accompanying helicopter started firing their ships’ Miniguns and aerial rockets at the enemy, making low-level attack runs and braving intense ground fir