FORT RILEY, Kan. — Soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division participated in a Patriot Day and Welcome Home Parade in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Sep. 11, 2023.
“On behalf of the commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. John V. Meyer, I just want to express to everyone here how proud we are,” said Brig. Gen. Niave F. Knell, the 1st Infantry Division deputy commanding general for support, who attended the event. “We are incredibly proud of him. We are proud that he wore the Big Red One patch during Vietnam.”
Soldiers of the Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard, the 1st Infantry Division Band, and 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, marched alongside Taylor as he was celebrated down Market Street in his hometown.
“It is an honor to be out here honoring him and to continue his legacy in the 1-4 Cav,” said Sgt. Jacob K. Newberry, a cavalry scout assigned to 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. “I hope that we are able to make him proud and continue on his legacy.
"This is my hometown, this is where I'm from, and to know someone from my hometown who is a Medal of Honor recipient, and to be here and see him in person is absolutely amazing. It’s an honor to be here and I am proud to be a 1-4 Cav Soldier and be a part of Capt. Taylor’s legacy.”
On June 18, 1968, while serving as a first lieutenant and AH-1G Cobra helicopter gunship pilot with Troop D (Air), 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalary Regiment., near Ap Go Cong in the Binh Du’o’ng Province of the Republic of Vietnam, Taylor received a call for help.
A four-man long-range reconnaissance patrol team operating in the area north of Saigon had become surrounded and was under threat of being overrun by a large group of enemy combatants.
In the midst of the chaos of battle, Taylor found the courage to support the recon team. After the team made their position known using flairs, Taylor and his wingman engaged opposing units in a series of low-altitude strafing runs.
Unwilling to let the Soldiers perish, Taylor decided to land his helicopter under fire so that the four-man recon team could climb aboard the rocket-pods and skids, a feat that had never before been attempted.
“Before we picked them up my co-pilot spun around and looked at me and said, ‘Well how are we gonna pick them up?’ and I said, ‘Just land and they'll be on this ship like another coat of paint,” remembered Taylor, whose actions saved all four members of the reconnaissance team. “When we picked them up my co-pilot said, ‘What are you gonna do with them?’ And I said, ‘Well hell I don’t know I'll fly them around and they'll jump off when they're happy.’”
Dave Hill, the last surviving member of the four-man recon team also attended the event.
“Who would have bet that any of us would have even seen the sun come up on the morning of 19 June 1968, let alone the dawns of another 54 years,” said Hill. “Words are inadequate to describe your actions, nor my humble gratitude, for the many years of friendship given you and me since then, so I will just say, thank you, sir.”