US President Joe Biden has awarded the nation’s highest military medal to a Vietnam War helicopter pilot who disregarded a direct order and saved his comrades.
Retired Army Captain Larry Taylor, 81, received the Medal of Honor at the White House over the 1968 operation when he flew his Cobra attack chopper into a firefight to rescue four US troops from near certain death.
His actions had never before been attempted, the Army says.
On the night of 18 June 1968, the long range reconnaissance patrol team that then-1st Lt Taylor saved came under heavy fire and was surrounded by enemy troops outside Ho Chi Minh City.
Running low on fuel and ammunition, he made low-level attack runs as the enemy returned intense ground fire for about half an hour.
Upon realising that the team’s escape route was a death trap, he radioed with a new extraction point.
President Biden said at yesterday’s medal ceremony that when the rescue helicopter was not arriving, Lt, Taylor received a direct order to return to base but his response was just as direct: ‘I’m getting my men out, am getting my men out’, refusing to leave his fellow Americans behind. END