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James Allen Taylor

Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient

Rank and organization: Captain (then 1st Lt.), U.S. Army, Troop B, 1st Cavalry, Americal Division.

Place and date: West of Que Son, Republic of Vietnam, November 9, 1967.

Entered service at: San Francisco, Calif.

Born: December 31, 1937, Arcata, Calif.

Photo from the metal presentation: Medal received from President Lyndon Johnson, November 19, 1969

Medal of Honor Citation

Capt. 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 5 crew members were wounded.

Aware that the stricken vehicle was in grave danger of exploding, Capt. 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, Capt. 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 Capt. 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 machine gun fire from an enemy position not 50 yards away. Capt. Taylor engaged the position with his machine gun, killing the 3-man crew.

Upon arrival at the new evacuation site, still another vehicle was struck. Once again Capt. 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.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Taylor has received the following awards and decorations:

Bronze Star Medal
Air Medal
Purple Heart
Good Conduct Medal – 3rd award
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal (Vietnamese)

Other Information

Taylor attended the following civilian and military schools:
Arcata Union High School, Arcata, CA
Tampa University, B.S. Criminology
3rd Armored Division NCO Academy, Germany
U.S. Army Officer Candidate School, Ft. Benning, GA
U.S. Army Armor School, Fort Knox, KY

Sources:

Americal Division Veterans Association
HomeOfHeroes.com
Stories of Valor, PBS, pbs.org