Profiles of Valor Update: Larry Taylor, Medal of Honor
For “incontestable acts … so conspicuous they clearly distinguished his service, meeting criteria for the Medal of Honor.”
(UPDATE 09 July 23: We have confirmed that the DoD petition to upgrade Larry Taylor’s Silver Star to a Medal of Honor has been approved. This effort was led by our friend, Gen. B.B. Bell (USA-Ret.), Advisory Board chairman of the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center. Bravo Zulu B.B.! The award will be made this month.)
I have had inquiries about the status of Capt. Larry Taylor (USA, Ret.), whom I profiled in November 2021. Larry, whom I first met two decades ago, received a Silver Star for his extraordinary actions in Vietnam, and given that he is critically ill, we are lobbying the secretary of defense to expedite the upgrade of his award to a Medal of Honor.
“Expedite” may seem the wrong word given the fact that the actions in connection with this upgrade occurred 55 years ago. But there are still nominations pending for members of Andrews Raiders in 1862, some of whom were the first Medal of Honor recipients. Moreover, as I noted in the soon-to-be awarded Medal of Honor for Col. Paris Davis, “These nominations are often delayed not only because the service verification standards are very detailed but because nominees are almost universally humble warriors who require the advocacy of others, as they are disinclined to promote their own nomination.”
Larry Taylor is a tough but humble warrior whose nomination, like that of Col. Davis, has been delayed in part because he repeatedly denied orders to evacuate an area and leave men behind.
For context, over the course of his multiple tours in Vietnam beginning with the 1st Squadron/4th U.S. Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division, Larry flew more than 2,700 missions, including 1,200 combat missions, in the UH-1 and Cobra, was engaged by enemy fire 340 times, and was forced down five times. He was awarded 61 combat decorations, including 44 Air Medals, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, two Bronze Stars, four Distinguished Flying Crosses, and a Silver Star. There were many harrowing operations, and of course a few humorous tales associated with those awards, but one award for a death-defying action rises above the others.
Taylor received a Silver Star for his heroic role in a rescue operation on the night of June 18, 1968, while piloting his AH-1G “Cobra” helicopter gunship as the flight leader of his two-gunship fire team. As our military readers know, the Silver Star is the third-highest military award for valor, behind the Medal of Honor and the service branch Distinguished Service Crosses. But in this case, his Silver Star award is not commensurate with the valorous actions of then-Lt. Taylor, who provided direct fire support and then rescued an Army four-man Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) team surrounded by a numerically superior enemy force. That team was moments from being overrun and killed. The events of that dark night near the village of Ap Go Cong, Binh Duong Province, have been well documented by members of F Company, 52nd Infantry (LRP), 1st Infantry Division, as were the 17 enemy fire holes in Larry’s Cobra.
Of his actions, Larry simply observed: “I’d flown thousands of missions in Vietnam and saved countless lives. But none had meant so much to me as the four we saved that night, for life had never become so sweet as the night I became the angel of death … no man left behind.”
Leading the charge for this upgrade is Gen. B.B. Bell (USA, Ret.), board member at the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center.
In a letter last week to Lieutenant General Doug Stitt, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1, for the Department of the Army, Gen. Bell notes: “Sir, I am writing on behalf of … the 30 September 2021 Army Review Boards Agency (ARBA) finding that the resubmission of the Medal of Honor Application regarding Mr. Larry L. Taylor was meritorious.”
Indeed, the Army Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR) stated in its recommendation on August 31, 2021: “The Board unanimously determined that the evidence presented was sufficient to warrant a recommendation for relief. The Board found the applicant’s actions clearly demonstrated incontestable acts of personal bravery and self-sacrifice involving risk of life, and were so conspicuous they clearly distinguished his service, meeting criteria for the Medal of Honor.”
LTG Stitt has been responsive in regard to Gen. Bell’s request, which may be to grant an upgrade to a Distinguished Service Cross rather than a Medal of Honor. That being said, I hope we will have another update on Larry Taylor soon, for as Gen. Bell noted: “Mr. Taylor is suffering from terminal cancer and has a very limited lifetime remaining. … Time is of the essence.”
(Please consider a designated gift to support the National Medal of Honor Sustaining Fund through Patriot Foundation Trust, or make a check payable to Liberty Fund (noting MoH Sustaining Fund on the memo line), and mail it to Patriot Foundation Trust, PO Box 407, Chattanooga, TN 37401-0407.)
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776
Join us in prayer for our nation’s Military Patriots standing in harm’s way, for our First Responders, and for their families.
The The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring Their Sacrifice Foundation and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
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