Army Capt. Larry L. Taylor refused to give up. He refused to leave his fellow Americans behind. He refused to put his own life above the lives of others in need, said President Joe Biden.
Biden awarded the Medal of Honor to Taylor for his heroic acts during the Vietnam War, at a White House ceremony Sept. 5, 2023.
On the night of June 18, 1968, near the hamlet of Ap Go Cong, South Vietnam, then-Army 1st Lt. Taylor was flying an AH1-G Cobra attack helicopter when he received a radio call for help.
“He heard a whisper coming through his radio. ‘We’re surrounded. We’re surrounded,'” Biden said.
The call came from a four-man reconnaissance team that was surrounded by nearly 100 enemy soldiers.
Because of total darkness, Taylor couldn’t determine the exact location of the team, so he asked them to launch a flare, a move that would reveal their location to him and the enemy as well, Biden said.
Taylor and his wingman flew dangerously low, firing thousands of rounds against enemy positions, and running low on fuel and ammunition, the president said.
“At that point, according to Army standards, he could have left the fight,” Biden said. But Taylor believed in never leaving a comrade behind.
Enemy rounds hit the Cobra multiple times. Having expended his ammunition, Taylor used the Cobra’s landing lights to draw the enemy’s attention while the patrol team headed to the extraction point Taylor had designated, the president said.
The two-man Cobra is not designed to carry passengers, but Taylor was going to try, Biden said. Under heavy enemy fire, Taylor landed the helicopter at the extraction point and the four soldiers climbed on the skids and rocket pods.
Taylor flew them all safely out of harm’s way.
“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 valor. That’s our nation at its very best,” Biden said.