Vietnam Helicopter Pilot Capt. Larry Taylor Awarded Medal of Honor for Daring Night-Time Rescue

Capt. Larry Taylor received the Medal of Honor in recognition of his “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,” Lieutenant Colonel Ann Hughes said at the White House ceremony

Taylor, 81, was a 1st Lieutenant during the Vietnam War and was honored for completing a daring rescue mission in the dead of night in 1968. 

He and another pilot — flying in a Cobra helicopter, described as the “newest, fastest, deadliest Army helicopter at the time” during the ceremony — responded to a call from four soldiers who were surrounded by enemy forces after an earlier recon mission. 

The plan was to provide cover for the soldiers while a rescue helicopter made its way there, Biden said, but once Taylor and his co-pilot arrived at the pitch-black scene, they learned that no rescue unit was coming.

After taking several hits to his helicopter while attempting to help cover the four soldiers on the ground, Taylor found himself low on ammunition — and time.

“Lieutenant Taylor received a direct order: ‘Return to base.’ His response was just as direct: ‘I’m getting my men out.” “Lieutenant Taylor would perform the extraction himself, a maneuver never before accomplished in a Cobra.”

Taylor landed the helicopter while still facing enemy fire and instructed the patrol team to grab a hold of the aircraft however they could.

“They turned around and jumped on the aircraft — a couple were sitting on the skids, one was sitting on the rocket pods, and I don’t know where the other one was but they beat on the side of the ship twice, which meant, ‘Haul ass,’ ” Taylor said, reported CNN. “And we did.”

The pilot then found a safe, friendly area to land the Cobra and the four soldiers disembarked, their lives “undoubtedly” saved, Hughes said at the White House ceremony.

“We took them down there and I landed, and I left my wide landing lights on and so the four of them ran out in front of the helicopter and then they turned around and lined up, all four of them, saluted, and then ran for the lights,” Taylor said to reporters last week, per CNN.

“When duty called, Larry did everything — did everything to answer, “And because of that, he rewrote the fate of four families for generations to come.”

“That’s valor,” “That’s our nation at its very best.”

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