My friend, Timothy Cotter, sent me the information about this article which I am choosing to publish on my website.
CHATTANOOGA, TN — Over the last several years there has been a push here locally and in Washington D.C. to get a Vietnam War Veteran who lives in Signal Mountain the Medal of Honor.
The brutal truth about war is lives are cut short. Often young people are killed in combat. They never got to come home and have a future, but what about when lives are spared.
Larry Taylor grew up in St. Elmo.
He was in ROTC at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He then entered active duty in the U.S. Army.
“I was in Armor branch,” Larry Taylor told me. “They said ‘well, what do you think about this tank? I said well it sucks I want to go to flight school.'”
He was with one of the first Cobra Helicopter Companies in the Vietnam War. Part of his job was to help Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol teams or LRRPs when they were in trouble.
“Scared most of the time, but that’s what we did,” Mr. Taylor said.
Six weeks after he left Cobra school he survived a night he’s still talking about more than 50 years later.
On June 18, 1968, he got a call on his radio.
“Well, here’s the problem,” Mr. Taylor said. “We were supposed to recon this village. Here and around this village for a week, and they were waiting on us.”
Dave Hill and 3 other LRRPs were on the ground. And they were trapped.
“We settled in and called for support,” Mr. Hill said.
Dave Hill and Larry Taylor explained what happened on that night in 1968 near Saigon during the Vietnam War.
“They were gonna die.” Mr. Taylor told me. “There were 4 of them. They were surrounded by about 60 people in a ring.”
Dave Hill explained what Mr. Taylor and his co-pilot did to help them, “over the next half hour or 35 minutes they continually made rocket and gun runs around us.”
“We begin to run out of rockets and run out of ammunition and you couldn’t see anything,” Taylor explained.
They were out of fire power, and out of ideas. So Larry radioed the team leader and made an unusual request.
“Run out to what you think is 100 yards and lay down,” Mr. Taylor said.
“All of a sudden we feel this down draft of wind, and here comes Taylor’s Cobra and he’s landing,” Mr. Hill explained.
On a Cobra Helicopter there is no place to transport troops. So the four soldiers jumped onto the helicopter the only places they could find and held on.
“Two of them jumped on the far side. They were sitting on the skid holding on to the strut and these two jumped on the rocket pods,” Mr. Taylor said.
Dave Hill was one of the men who jumped on the rocket pods, “rode it like a horse backwards.”
Taylor lifted those men out of that fight, and to safety. Larry Taylor told me he’s never heard of another rescue like it during the war.
Mr. Taylor was awarded a Silver Star for his actions that night. Over the last few years Dave Hill and several other veterans have been putting together a package to submit to the pentagon to upgrade that honor to the Medal of Honor.
“One of the gaps in my life is Larry never got his due,” Mr. Hill said. “So, that’s our crusade in our lives at this point.”
Part of that was trying to find other people who were there. One of those men was Gerald Patty. He passed away in 2015. Dave Hill is the only member of that four-man LRRP team who is still living.
Twenty years after the war Mr. Patty got married. Had two children. Four Grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Jacqueline Jimenez is Gerald Patty’s daughter.
“We really think that Larry should be honored for what he did to get these gentlemen out, and allow (Mr. Patty) to continue to make this legacy,” Jacqueline Jimenez said.
Generations who are here today because Larry Taylor risked his life to save lives in Vietnam in 1968.
“That is your job. That’s what you do. I told my men you never leave a man on the ground and we never did and I never lost a man. Not one,” Larry Taylor said.
We’ve been told that packet that was submitted for consideration for the Medal of Honor for Larry Taylor is still in the hands of high ranking officials at the Pentagon.
At this point it’s unclear what will happen.
Originally featured on https://newschannel9.com
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