Vietnam pilot who disobeyed direct orders receives Medal of Honor

US President Joe Biden has awarded the Medal of Honor to retired Army Captain Larry Taylor, who flew his Cobra helicopter into a firefight in 1968 to rescue four US troops from near certain death. Taylor had been ordered to return to base, but refused when he learned there was no other rescue helicopter being sent. A Cobra had never been used for such a mission before. Taylor saved the long-range reconnaissance patrol team from heavy fire and was surrounded by enemy troops outside Ho Chi Minh City. He radioed with a new extraction point and landed the helicopter "with complete disregard for his personal safety" to pick up the four troops. President Biden said at the medal ceremony that the rescue helicopter was not coming, but Taylor refused to return to base and performed the extraction himself, a move never before accomplished in a Cobra. Taylor's aircraft was hit multiple times during the rescue mission, but he refused to give up and refused to leave a fellow American behind. Only 3,515 US military personnel have received the Medal of Honor, out of 40 million who have served since the Civil War.


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