TAYLOR, DAVID EARL
Rank / Branch:
1 LT. U.S. ARMY
FIRST AVIATION BRIGADE
Date of Birth:
HOSTILE, CRASH HELIC
Awards & Decorations:
See Alphabetical list
list by County
DAVID EARL TAYLOR, FIRST LIEUTENANT, U. S. ARMY, BIG SPRING, HOWARD COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Army Aviator Wings (Rotary), Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star with "V" device, Purple Heart, Air Medal with 17 clusters, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal
David Earl Taylor was born in Colorado City, Texas, the oldest son of Eva Dorthea Hoffmann and Earl D. Taylor. He had one younger brother, Scott who was 12 years younger. He attended Colorado City schools. His father was employed with Coltex-Cosden Oil Company and was transferred to Big Spring when David started his junior year in high school. He graduated from Big Spring High School in 1964. He then attended Howard College in Big Spring and enlisted in the Army in February 1966.
He completed basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas and then completed AIT at Fort Knox, Kentucky in Armor. He applied for Officer Candidate Training in Armor. He was accepted and after AIT, his OCS class did not start until September 1966. He was assigned as an Assistant Drill Sergeant for a basic training company at Fort Knox until his OCS started on September 8, 1966. He completed OCS and was commissioned as a 2LT in Armor. He was applied for Rotary Wing Flight School and was accepted and he completed primary helicopter training at Fort Wolters, Texas. While at Fort Wolters, he married Rocklyn Erickson of Plano, Illinois on June 3, 1967 at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Big Spring, Texas. Upon completed of primary training, he then was sent for advanced training in the Huey at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Upon graduation, he was assigned as a Combat Intelligence Officer with the 8th Cavalry, First Cavalry Division at Fort Knox from December 1, 1967 until he departed for Vietnam. He was promoted to 1LT on March 3, 1968.
Big Spring High School
He began his tour in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot with A Troop, 3/17th Air Cav, First Aviation Brigade on August 3, 1968. He was described by several members of his unit as the best scout pilot in the Troop. He was quite a card player and won more than he lost, but would fold up his cards and beg off if he had an early morning flight.
Lt. David E. Taylor-Vietnam
On January 20, 1969, Lt. Tayor was the pilot/co-pilot of OH-6A, commonly known as a LOH (Low Observation Helicopter), Tail number 66-07872. The craft was being piloted by Major Richard K. Zimmerman, the commanding officer of the Troop. Major Zimmerman had been in command about five weeks. The OH-6A was used primarily for low level scout missions. The pilots flying scout missions required more skill, more daring, and the ability to make instant decisions more so than any other pilot. Often times, the only thing that kept these pilots alive was their quickness and the ability to react totally in an instant in time, no thought to anything other than merging machine and mind. Survival depended on it. It was being a scout that day that brought up on the demise of Major Zimmerman and Lt. Taylor.
Major Zimmer and Lt. Taylor were flying in the Iron Triangle and were working a new AO (area of operation). Two other scout flights were in the area. As the three aircraft worked the area flying at low altitude, without finding much in the way of activity, Major Zimmerman and Lt. Taylor radioed that they were going back up to altitude to look at the rest of the AO before going to Cu Chi for briefing. The other aircraft continued to work the area as they had not seen fresh signs and were plotting target areas as there were a lot of older trails, bunkers and such. At that point, one of the scout flights was to leave the area to do a bomb damage assessment on a B-52 strick, when they received a radio message from a gunship that there was a column of smoke coming up from a position nearby. As they approached the area, it appeared that a chopper had gone down. They spotted one rotary blade, a hunk of metal with the troop emblem on it. This was the ship that Major Zimmerman and Lt. Taylor were piloting.
While no exact reason was known for crash, as there was no subsequent contact with Major Zimmerman or Lt. Taylor, the theory was that the aircraft had come back into the area and had taken small arms fire from enemy troops concealed in spider holes and a round had hit an incendiary grenade on board the aircraft. The scout pilots usually carried WP grenades. The reason behind the theory was that a LOH aircraft seldom burns when shot down and this aircraft was totally destroyed by fire.
At the time of his death, his wife was in the process of making arrangeents to meet Lt. Taylor in Hawaii for his R&R, where Lt. Taylor was to see his son for the first time. Lt. David E. Taylor and Rocklyn Taylor had been married 18 months at the time of his death.. Lt. Taylor was buried in Little Rock Township Cemetery in Plano, Illinois, with full military honors. He was survived by his wife, Lynn and son Steve of Plano, Illinois and his parents, Mr and Mrs Earl D Taylor and his younger brother, Scott of Big Spring.
On July 12, 1969 in a ceremony at Webb Air Force Base in Big Spring, the Commanding Officer of the base presented Lt Taylor's widow with his awards and decorations. He was awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star with "V" device, Purple Heart and the Air Medal with 17 oak leaf clusters.
Little Rock Township Cemetery, Plano, Illinois