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James Lawrence Taylor

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial

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James Lawrence Taylor
1943-1966

“Sergeant Taylor’s extraordinary heroism in close combat against a numerically superior hostile force was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service . . . .”

Silver Star citation

James Lawrence Taylor was born on June 9, 1943, at Nitro in Putnam County, West Virginia. He was the third of five sons born to Monte and Ruth Murriel Ogburn Taylor.

James, called Jim, attended Nitro High School, but he left before graduating and enlisted in the Army. Jim served in Germany from 1960 to 1963 and then in Vietnam, where he served until March 1966.
James Taylor
James Taylor, junior at Nitro High

James Taylor
James Taylor at boot camp

James Taylor
James Taylor on leave in Nitro in 1961
Serving with the 5th Mobile Strike Force Command (Green Berets), Detachment A-503, on March 9, 1966, Jim was on a mission to reinforce a special forces detachment located at Camp A Shau in Thua Thien province in northern South Vietnam. He was weapons platoon leader of a Nung “Mike Force”company. Camp A Shau came under attack by Viet Cong who launched an assault of mortar and recoilless rifle fire. Sergeant Taylor assumed command when the company commander was killed and organized the defenders of the encampment into a circular defense, as a result of which the Viet Cong offensive was stalled temporarily. Jim was wounded by a recoilless rifle round and was carried out of the camp on a stretcher when troops were forced to abandon the installation. According to one account, Sergeant Taylor died shortly thereafter and his body was left at the bottom of a hill as troops retreated. He body was not recovered.

For his actions, Sgt. James Lawrence Taylor was awarded the Silver Star in June 1966. This posthumous award was presented to his parents in a ceremony held in South Charleston.
Silver Star citation
Silver Star citation

Awarding Silver Star
Mr. and Mrs. Monte Taylor receiving
Silver Star awarded to son Jim. Robert Taylor, another son, observes.

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West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.


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