Captain Larry Taylor son of Tennessee Hall Of Fame Member R L Taylor
Capt. Larry Taylor received the Medal of Honor in recognition of his “conspicuous gallantry, his profound concern for his fellow soldiers, and his intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty,” Lieutenant Colonel Ann Hughes said at the White House ceremony.
Taylor, 81, was a 1st Lieutenant during the Vietnam War and was honored for completing a daring rescue mission in the dead of night in 1968.
He and another pilot — flying in a Cobra helicopter, which Biden, 80, described as the “newest, fastest, deadliest Army helicopter at the time” during the ceremony — responded to a call from four soldiers who were surrounded by enemy forces after an earlier recon mission.
The plan was to provide cover for the soldiers while a rescue helicopter made its way there, Biden said, but once Taylor and his co-pilot arrived at the pitch-black scene, they learned that no rescue unit was coming.
After taking several hits to his helicopter while attempting to help cover the four soldiers on the ground, Taylor found himself low on ammunition — and time.
“Lieutenant Taylor received a direct order: ‘Return to base.’ His response was just as direct: ‘I’m getting my men out,’” Biden said. “Lieutenant Taylor would perform the extraction himself, a maneuver never before accomplished in a Cobra.”
aylor landed the helicopter while still facing enemy fire and instructed the patrol team to grab a hold of the aircraft however they could.
“They turned around and jumped on the aircraft — a couple were sitting on the skids, one was sitting on the rocket pods, and I don’t know where the other one was but they beat on the side of the ship twice, which meant, ‘Haul ass,’ ”. “And we did.”
The pilot then found a safe, friendly area to land the Cobra and the four soldiers disembarked, their lives “undoubtedly” saved, Hughes said at the White House ceremony.
“We took them down there and I landed, and I left my wide landing lights on and so the four of them ran out in front of the helicopter and then they turned around and lined up, all four of them, saluted, and then ran for the lights,” Taylor said to reporters last week, per CNN.
“When duty called, Larry did everything — did everything to answer," Biden said at the ceremony. "And because of that, he rewrote the fate of four families for generations to come.”
“That’s valor,” he continued. “That’s our nation at its very best.”
During his time in the military, Taylor flew more than 2,000 missions and received more than 50 combat decorations, including the Silver Star, 43 Air Medals, a Bronze Star and two Distinguished Flying Crosses, according to an Army report.
On receiving the Medal of Honor, he said: “That’s the ultimate. You can’t get any better than that. I’m thankful that we were able to get the [Soldiers] out that night, and all four of them became lifelong friends.”
John David Dobbs Sr., age 85, of Powell, Tennessee passed away on Friday, October 20, 2023. He graduated from Fulton High School in 1957 and then proudly served his country in the US Navy. He attended the University of Tennessee. John D. was a teacher in the Knox County School System for 25 years before moving to the position of Supervisor of Adult Education for the remainder of his career with the school system.
He is preceded in death by his parents, John Leonard Dobbs and Dorothy Lou Dobbs; and brother, Charles "Buster" Dobbs.
John D. is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Carolyn Kelley Dobbs; sons, John David Dobbs, Jr. (Patti) and John Kelley Dobbs; grandchildren, Kayla Funderburk, Kelsea Cunningham, Josie Decker, Joshua Dobbs and Jansen Dobbs; great-grandchildren, Ava Funderburk and River Funderburk; and sister, Betty Floyd.
The family will receive friends on October 24, 2023 from 12:30 to 2:30 PM with a funeral service to follow in the chapel of Berry Highland Memorial, 5315 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919. A graveside service with Military Honors will immediately follow in Berry Highland Memorial Cemetery at the Whispering Waters Pavilion.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the Tennessee Breast Cancer Coalition at www.tbcc.org.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.berryhighlandmemorial.com for the Dobbs family.