Jesse J. Taylor

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Jesse J. Taylor

Jesse J Taylor USN.jpg

Jesse J. taylor
Birth name Jesse Junior Taylor
Born(1925-01-16)16 January 1925
Wichita, Kansas
Died 17 November 1965(1965-11-17) (aged 40)
near Haiphong, North Vietnam
Buried Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchFlag of the United States Navy (official).svg  United States Navy
Years of service 1942 1946
1951 1965
Rank US-O4 insignia.svg Lieutenant Commander
Service number 553662
Battles/wars World War II
Vietnam War  
Awards Navy Cross ribbon.svg Navy Cross

Jesse Junior Taylor (16 January 1925 17 November 1965) was a United States Navy naval aviator, Lieutenant Commander during the Vietnam War. He also served as an enlisted man during World War II. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for actions 17 November 1965 over North Vietnam. He was the namesake of USS Taylor.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force.

Lieutenant commander (United States) United States naval rank

Lieutenant commander (LCDR) is a mid-ranking officer rank in the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps, with the pay grade of O-4 and NATO rank code OF-3. The predecessors of the NOAA Corps, the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps (1917-1965) and the Environmental Science Services Administration Corps (1965-1970), also used the lieutenant commander rank, and the rank is also used in the United States Maritime Service and the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps. Lieutenant commanders rank above lieutenants and below commanders, and rank is equivalent to a major in the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps.

Vietnam War 1955–1975 conflict in Vietnam

The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or simply the American War, was an undeclared war in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; South Vietnam was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. The war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war from some US perspectives. It lasted some 19 years with direct U.S. involvement ending in 1973 following the Paris Peace Accords, and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist states in 1975.



Jesse Junior Taylor was born in Wichita, Kansas, on 16 January 1925 to Jesse D. Taylor of Kansas and Mabel Taylor of Nebraska. In 1935 the family lived in the Kansas City area and in 1940 they lived in the Los Angeles metro area. [1] Taylor enlisted in the Navy after high school on 26 October 1942. He joined Bombing Squadron 11 (VB-11) as an aviation radioman and enlisted Naval Aircrewman and was deployed with the squadron to the carrier USS Hornet in September 1944. Over the following four months, VB-11 carried out a highly successful combat tour, flying 490 strike sorties against a variety of enemy targets in the Pacific. Taylor, as an aviation radioman, earned a ribbon for Hornet's Presidential Unit Citation. He served with VB-11 until discharged from the Navy on 5 February 1946. [2]

Wichita, Kansas City and county seat in Kansas, United States

Wichita is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas and the county seat of Sedgwick County. As of 2017, the estimated population of the city was 390,591. Wichita is the principal city of the Wichita metropolitan area which had an estimated population of 644,610 in 2015.

Kansas State of the United States of America

Kansas is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States. Its capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita, with its most populated county being Johnson County. Kansas is bordered by Nebraska on the north; Missouri on the east; Oklahoma on the south; and Colorado on the west. Kansas is named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the (south) wind" although this was probably not the term's original meaning. For thousands of years, what is now Kansas was home to numerous and diverse Native American tribes. Tribes in the eastern part of the state generally lived in villages along the river valleys. Tribes in the western part of the state were semi-nomadic and hunted large herds of bison.

Nebraska State of the United States of America

Nebraska is a state that lies in both the Great Plains and the Midwestern United States. It is bordered by South Dakota to the north; Iowa to the east and Missouri to the southeast, both across the Missouri River; Kansas to the south; Colorado to the southwest; and Wyoming to the west. It is the only triply landlocked U.S. state.

Following his reentry into civilian life, he attended Long Beach City College for two years before going to work with several private concerns in the Los Angeles area. However, he returned to the college in 1950 and, while there, enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve shortly after Korean War began. [2]

Long Beach City College building in California, United States

Long Beach City College (LBCC) is a public community college in Long Beach, California. It was established in 1927 and is divided into two campuses. The Liberal Arts Campus is in Lakewood Village and the Pacific Coast Campus is in central Long Beach near Signal Hill. It is the only college in the Long Beach Community College District.

United States Navy Reserve Reserve Component (RC) of the United States Navy

The United States Navy Reserve (USNR), known as the United States Naval Reserve from 1915 to 2005, is the Reserve Component (RC) of the United States Navy. Members of the Navy Reserve, called reservists, are enrolled in the Selected Reserve (SELRES), the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), the Full Time Support (FTS), or the Retired Reserve program.

Korean War 1950–1953 war between North Korea and South Korea

The Korean War was a war between North Korea and South Korea. The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following a series of clashes along the border.

Reporting for duty in January 1951, Taylor underwent flight training as a Naval Aviation Cadet (NAVCAD) and was soon designated a Naval Aviator. Commissioned an Ensign in May 1952, he went on to receive further training until he joined Composite Squadron Four (VC-4) in January 1953 as a replacement pilot and Maintenance and Material Officer. [2]

Ensign is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank acquired the name. This rank has generally been replaced in army ranks by second lieutenant. Ensigns were generally the lowest ranking commissioned officer, except where the rank of subaltern existed. In contrast, the Arab rank of ensign, لواء, liwa', derives from the command of units with an ensign, not the carrier of such a unit's ensign, and is today the equivalent of a major general.

Detached from that duty in July 1955, he then served as Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) instructor on the Los Angeles campus of the University of California. Following that tour, he went to Naval Air Station Pensacola for further flight instruction. The first half of 1956 saw Taylor as a flight instructor at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Milton, Florida. He then joined the staff of Chief of Naval Air Training at NAS Pensacola as Assistant Aviation Safety Officer. [2]

Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps

The Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program is a college-based, commissioned officer training program of the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.

University of California, Los Angeles Public research university in Los Angeles, California

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public research university in Los Angeles. It became the Southern Branch of the University of California in 1919, making it the third-oldest undergraduate campus of the 10-campus University of California system. It offers 337 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. UCLA enrolls about 31,000 undergraduate and 13,000 graduate students and had 119,000 applicants for Fall 2016, including transfer applicants, making the school the most applied-to of any American university.

After his tour in Pensacola, Taylor journeyed to England, where, for a year, he attended the Empire Test Pilots' School at Farmborough. He then rejoined the fleet, serving as a replacement pilot in Fighter Squadron 174 (VF-174). Promoted to Lieutenant Commander while serving with the squadron, he then attended the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island for one year. Next, he represented the Bureau of Naval Weapons at St. Louis, Missouri, directing the Bureau's Flight Test Division for two years. [2]

Empire Test Pilots School British training school for test pilots and flight test engineers

The Empire Test Pilots' School (ETPS) is a British training school for test pilots and flight test engineers of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft at MoD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire, England. It was established in 1943, the first of its type. The school moved to RAF Cranfield in October 1945, then to Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough in July 1947, before returning to Boscombe Down on 29 January 1968.

Second VA-174 (U.S. Navy) 1944-1988 United States Navy aviation unit

Attack Squadron 174 (VA-174) also known as the "Hellrazors" was a United States Navy attack squadron based at Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Florida, and were attached to Light Attack Wing One. It was commissioned from 1944 to 1988.

Naval War College staff college of the United States Navy

The Naval War College is the staff college and "Home of Thought" for the United States Navy at Naval Station Newport in Newport, Rhode Island. The NWC educates and develops leaders, supports defining the future Navy and associated roles and missions, supports combat readiness, and strengthens global maritime partnerships.

Vietnam War

In July 1965, LCDR Taylor was assigned to Carrier Air Wing 16 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany, and sailed to the western Pacific. He flew 16 missions between September and November, earning an Air Medal and a gold star in lieu of a second award. Selected for promotion to the rank of Commander on 1 September 1965, at the time of his death he had not been officially given the rank. [2]

On 17 November 1965, Commander Taylor was flying his A-1 Skyraider during attacks on a key bridge near the North Vietnamese port of Haiphong. Anti-aircraft fire had downed one of the attacking aircraft and its pilot had ejected from his doomed plane in a densely populated and heavily defended area. Taylor heard the radio transmission about the pilot's plight. Although it was not his assigned mission, realizing that time was of the essence in any attempt to rescue the downed pilot, Taylor made a courageous decision. Having discovered that other rescue aircraft were occupied elsewhere, he took command of the rescue effort. [2]

Despite intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire, Taylor proceeded to the scene and found the downed pilot still in his parachute harness in shallow water. To cover the approach of the rescue helicopter, he attacked the anti-aircraft gun sites, despite the fact that his own plane had sustained damage. The storm of enemy ground fire soon made it obvious that the helicopter would not be able to extricate the man on the ground. Meanwhile, because of fire in his own aircraft, Commander Taylor was forced to break off his own persistent attacks. Rather than try to abandon his plane in enemy territory, he elected to try to ditch in the Gulf of Tonkin. However, the fire burned through the wing of his plane and it crashed before he had time to leave it. [2]

For his heroic determination to save a fellow pilot, even at great risk to his own life, Commander Taylor was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

Taylor was survived by his mother, his sister Gwen Taylor-Church, as well as his wife Barbara and three children of Whittier, California. [3] Taylor's remains were returned by North Vietnam in 1975. [4] [5] He was buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, California. [6]

Taylor is listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall on Panel 3E, Row 96. [7]

Navy Cross Navycross.jpg
Navy Cross

The Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals awarded Taylor the Navy Cross for actions while serving aboard Oriskany and for actions over North Vietnam 17 November 1965 with the following citation:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander Jesse Junior Taylor (NSN: 0-553662), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in aerial flight as a Pilot in Attack Carrier Air Wing SIXTEEN (CVW-16), embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34), during a rescue combat air patrol over hostile territory in North Vietnam on 17 November 1965. Although his aircraft was severely damaged by heavy enemy ground fire while he was attempting to locate a downed pilot, Lieutenant Commander Taylor persisted in his efforts until he had definitely ascertained the location of his fellow airman. He then proceeded to attack enemy gun sites which threatened the approach of the rescue helicopter. Only after his aircraft caught fire and a crash was imminent did Lieutenant Commander Taylor cease his efforts. With his aircraft burning and heavily damaged, he succeeded in reaching the coast of the Gulf of Tonkin in an attempt to ditch but did not survive the crash of his crippled aircraft. In sacrificing his life in an effort to save the life of a fellow airman, Lieutenant Commander Taylor displayed the highest degree of courage and self-sacrifice. His actions were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service. [8]
Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals)

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PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from the United States Navy document "Namesake USS Taylor" .

  1. 1940 United States Census, United States Census,1940;San Antonio, Los Angeles, California; roll T627 249, page 7B, line 1-4, enumeration district 19-624. Retrieved on 2014-06-07.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Namesake". Public Domain US Navy USS Taylor (FFG-50). Retrieved 2014-06-07.
  3. "Navy Pilot of L.B. Killed in Viet War". Press-Telegram . Long Beach, California. 1965-11-20.
  4. "Jesse Taylor". POW Retrieved 2014-06-07.
  5. "5 shot down in Viet war flown to U.S. for burial". Press-Telegram . Long Beach, California. 1976-01-15.
  6. "Jesse Junior Taylor". Find a Grave . Retrieved 2014-06-07.
  7. "Jesse J. Taylor". The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Retrieved 2014-06-07.
  8. "Jesse Junior Taylor". Military Times . Retrieved 2014-06-07.