Army Captain Larry L. Taylor from Chattanooga, Tennessee, enlisted June 1966 and served with the 1st Squadron, 4th Calvary Regiment, 1st Infantry Division in the Vietnam War. He flew over 2,000 combat missions in UH-1 and Cobra helicopters, was engaged by enemy fire 340 times, and was forced down five times, according to the Army.
Taylor, 81, has received at least 50 combat decorations, including 43 Air Medals, a Bronze Star, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, and the Silver Star.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden presented Taylor with the Medal of Honor.
Unlike other events helmed by Biden where he has slipped into the background unnoticed, Biden’s premature exit from Taylor’s Medal of Honor ceremony has sparked significant outrage.
Prior to Biden bailing out early, Lt. Col. Ann Hughes detailed Taylor’s brave deeds near the village of Ap Go Cong, Vietnam, on the fateful evening of June 18, 1968.
‘Feat never before accomplished’
A four-man long-range patrol team that had found itself surrounded and vastly outnumbered by a Viet Cong force called for fire support.
One of the four on the ground, then-Sgt. David Hill, told the Army Times, “We were in a Custer-like situation.”
Then-1st Lt. Taylor heard the call and came powering over at the command of a light fire team comprising two Cobra helicopter gunships.
Upon arrival, Taylor “immediately requested illumination rounds and supporting artillery to assist with identifying the enemy positions,” even though the fulfillment of that order would make his aircraft similarly easier to see and target.
Hazarding “intense enemy groundfire” and flying “at a perilously low altitude,” Taylor fed the enemy encircling the patrol team a constant stream of hot lead and rockets, and he did so for 45 minutes.
As all good things come to an end, Taylor’s team began running low on ammunition. However, the Americans below were not yet out of harm’s way. The Tennessean appealed to light to stop the encroaching darkness in its tracks.
Hughes indicated that using his chopper’s searchlight, Taylor began performing fake strafing runs on the enemy, thereby distracting them from the patrol team.
Still, the patrol team was not out of the woods, and now Taylor was running low on fuel, the Rubicon ostensibly behind him.
Taylor and his wingman cleared some additional space for the patrol, expending their remaining minigun rounds, then “directed the patrol team to move 100 yards towards the extraction point, where First Lieutenant Taylor, still under enemy fire, landed his helicopter and instructed the patrol team to climb aboard anywhere they could.”
Hughes stressed that an extraction by way of Cobra gunship was a “feat never before accomplished.” After all, the aircraft is a two-seater gunship designed for leaving bodies, not carrying them.
Nevertheless, Taylor made it work. The patrol team managed to both perch on the rocket pods and skids and hold on long enough for Taylor to fly them to safety.
Biden indicated that when he told Taylor he would be receiving recognition for his acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty that night, the Army captain responded, “I thought you had to do something to receive the Medal of Honor.”
An unceremonious exit
Immediately after setting the Medal of Honor around Taylor’s neck and giving the tearful veteran a handshake, Biden abruptly bolted out of the East Room as if to beat the traffic.
One reporter can be seen in the video of the ceremony impressed with a look of confusion at the sight of Biden hurrying out, and for good reason: the event was far from over.
Now alone, Taylor remained at his post, waiting for the closing benediction.
The Daily Mail indicated that some have suggested Biden was attempting to give Taylor the spotlight; however, many have slammed the 80-year-old Democrat for what they figure was a gross lack of respect.
Former Navy SEAL Shawn Ryan wrote on X, “Pardon my French… But what a f***ing idiot. The continuous lack of respect Biden has for anyone is appalling. Hawaii, Service members, active shooter victims, the list goes on.”
Ryan’s allusion to Hawaii may be in reference to the president’s controversial speech to survivors of the Maui wildfires last month, in which he compared the blazes that claimed the lives of hundreds and razed a historic town to a kitchen fire that nearly put his beloved ’67 Corvette at risk.
Ret. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Patterson suggested, “Democrat disconnect with the American military continues. He doesn’t give a s*** and can’t wait to nap.”
Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-Texas), an Army veteran who also flew choppers, wrote, “At least he didn’t check his watch this time.”
Hunt appears to be referencing the 2021 incident where Biden repeatedly looked at his watch during a solemn ceremony for the 13 U.S. troops killed amid his botched Afghanistan withdrawal.
Conservative radio host Jason Rantz slammed Biden’s early exit, calling it “absolutely disgusting.”
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