President Joe Biden awarded the Medal of Honor on Tuesday to Capt. Larry Taylor, a Vietnam War pilot who flew his attack helicopter into heavy enemy gunfire until he ran out of ammunition, then led a daring rescue of a small team of soldiers who had been left for dead.
It was June 18, 1968. A four-man, long-range reconnaissance patrol team was surrounded and about to be overrun by more than 100 Vietnamese enemy fighters.
Taylor, flying one of two AH-1G Cobra helicopters, reached the battlefield just northeast of Saigon. He slammed the advancing enemy with rockets and minigun fire for nearly an hour, trying to buy time for a rescue helicopter to arrive. But that rescue mission was called off when leaders determined the four-man team on the ground were certain to die and that rescue craft would be shot down.
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Taylor's aircraft was so heavily damaged that it was at a huge risk of losing function, and he was ordered to retreat back to base.
But he refused the order.
Taylor, piloting his two-man attack helicopter, initiated his own unconventional and dangerous rescue attempt.
“It's incredible. How he refused to give up, refused to leave a fellow American behind. … When duty called, Larry did everything to answer,” Biden said at the White House award ceremony.
Taylor was at the White House ceremony on Tuesday,…