On Tuesday the White House focused its Medal of Honor ceremony on what it called “meritorious conduct” that involved “great personal bravery” and sacrifice.
President Joe Biden awarded Capt. Larry L. Taylor of the U.S. Army with the prestigious distinction for conspicuous gallantry.
Capt. Taylor, then-First Lieutenant, was fighting in Vietnam in 1968 acting as a team leader in a helicopter light-fire team when he asked soldiers to mark their location with flares.
The White House recalled his experience, as Taylor used the lights as a reference point to fire on the enemy side who were returning fire on them.
As the account from the White House read, multiple helicopters began to run low on ammunition. Taylor was able to form an escape route to return his team to a safe location.
A rescue helicopter’s plans to save the team had to be canceled. That was when Taylor made the choice to remove his team to base camp using just his two-man Cobra helicopter, which had not been attempted before, the White House said.
Taylor had to land his helicopter as it was met with heavy fire.
The White House said, “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.”
Capt. Taylor was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee and graduated from the University of Tennessee. He entered the U.S. Army Reserve in 1966, then went into the Regular Army in August of that year.
Taylor received his training at Fort Knox in Kentucky and at the Army’s Primary Helicopter School at Fort Wolters in Texas.
In 1967 he qualified to be an Army Aviator and later went to Vietnam to act as a helicopter pilot from 1967 until 1968.
Taylor is a decorated U.S. Military member honored with a Distinguished Flying Cross and an Air Medal. He was honorably discharged from active military duty in 1970 after he reached the rank of captain. He was later discharged from the Army Reserve in 1973.
The military honors those with “meritorious conduct” who exhibit “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.”