First Lt. James A. Taylor was serving in South Vietnam as Executive Officer of B Troop, First Cavalry, American Division on November 8, 1967 when he was notified that his commander had been wounded in action.
He was ordered into the combat zone to take command and make preparations for a search and destroy mission the following day.
Early on November 9, Taylor resumed his duties as Executive Officer in charge of evacuation of wounded personnel, calling in air and ground support, and arranging for supplies and ammunition for the pending attack. As the troops moved forward, they came under heavy attack from a North Vietnamese regiment. Taylor reacted immediately to aid the first crippled personnel carrier before it exploded from the intense fire. But that was just the beginning of the battle – and an extraordinary display of courage under fire.
On November 19, 1968, in a ceremony at the White House, James A. Taylor was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Johnson.
His official citation reads:
“CPT Taylor, Armor, was serving as executive officer of Troop B, 1st Squadron. His troop was engaged in an attack on a fortified position west of Que Son when it came under intense enemy recoilless rifle, mortar, and automatic weapons fire from an enemy strong point located immediately to its front. One armored cavalry assault vehicle was hit immediately by recoilless rifle fire and all five crewmembers were wounded. Aware that the stricken vehicle was in grave danger of exploding, CPT Taylor rushed forward and personally extracted the wounded to safety despite the hail of enemy fire and exploding ammunition. Within minutes a second armored cavalry assault vehicle was hit by multiple recoilless rifle rounds. Despite the continuing intense enemy fire, CPT Taylor moved forward on foot to rescue the wounded men from the burning vehicle and personally removed all the crewmen to the safety of a nearby dike. Moments later the vehicle exploded.
As he was returning to his vehicle, a bursting mortar round painfully wounded CPT Taylor, yet he valiantly returned to his vehicle to relocate the medical evacuation landing zone to an area closer to the front lines. As he was moving his vehicle, it came under machinegun fire from an enemy position not 50 yards away. CPT Taylor engaged the position with his machinegun, killing the three-man crew.
Upon arrival at the new evacuation site, still another vehicle was struck. Once again CPT Taylor rushed forward and pulled the wounded from the vehicle, loaded them aboard his vehicle, and returned them safely to the evacuation site. His actions of unsurpassed valor were a source of inspiration to his entire troop, contributed significantly to the success of the overall assault on the enemy position, and were directly responsible for saving the lives of a number of his fellow soldiers. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military profession and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.”
We honor you, James Taylor.