William Henry Taylor

Captain
21ST SOS, 56TH SOW, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
01 December 1939 - 23 May 1968
Wilson, North Carolina
Panel 67E Line 003

7TH AF

21ST SOS
USAF Pilot

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for William Henry Taylor

01 Jun 2005

Henry was a wonderful young man. He played baseball and football at Charles L. Coon High School in Wilson, NC. He was awarded about every honor you could get in high school football (Shrine Bowl, All Stars, All-State Team, and Wigwam Wiseman's Prep All American team, as well as being named the most valuable player by his teammates).

He was also active in many other high school activities and clubs, serving as a officer in most. He was liked and respected by his classmates and teachers. He was one of the most popular in his class, and a friend to all.

Henry almost went to the Air Force Academy, but chose The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill instead. He also played football for UNC. After graduation from UNC Henry entered the Air Force. He lost his life in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, on May 23, 1968, ten years after he graduated from high school.

He left behind a wife, two older sisters, a younger brother, many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.



21 Feb 2007

Captain Taylor is buried in Tryon, North Carolina.

From a cousin.
E-mail address is not available.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

By May 1968 the siege at Khe Sanh had been lifted, but North Vietnamese Army activity in western Quang Tri remained at a high level and the "Mini-Tet" offensive had increased enemy activity throughout South Vietnam.

On 23 May 1968 three CH-3E helicopters departed Nakon Phanom RTAFB on a close-hold mission - according to one report, they "on a classified ordnance delivery mission", according to another they were to deliver sensors designed to detect and track NVA forces. In any case, the area involved was near Khe Sanh, and the helos were escorted by a flight of A-1 Skyraiders. On arrival in the target area the helos dropped down through a hole in a nearly-solid cloud cover. Once underneath, the flight lead (Captain John H. McCollum in CH-3E tail number 66-13295) determined that the mission was not practical and directed the flight to climb back above the cloud deck.

The wing helicopters did so without difficulty, but visual and radio contact with Captain McCollum's aircraft was lost. Weather conditions pretty much limited search and rescue efforts to radio calls, and eventually the effort was called off pending improved weather. When the cloud cover broke up smoke from the burning wreckage led SAR forces to the crash site, which was located several hundred feet below the peak of a 5700-foot mountain. The aircraft wreckage was in two separate areas, with the bulk of the fuselage about 450 feet uphill from the aft-most fuselage section. There were no signs of survivors, and attempts to lower a search party to the site were foiled by heavy turbulence around the peaks. For the next three weeks Marine ground forces attempted to reach the crash site but were unable to do so. Although the crash was believed to be unsurvivable, the six men aboard were classed as Missing in Action. The five crewmen from the 21st Special Ops Squadron were

  • Captain James P. McCollum, Pleasantville, NJ, pilot;
  • Captain William H. Taylor, Wilson, NC, copilot;
  • SSgt John L. Coon, Phelps, NY, Flight Engineer;
  • Sgt John E. Albanese, Medina, NY, Flight Engineer; and
  • Sgt Robert A. Fink, San Diego, CA, Crew Chief.
The sixth man, Sgt Thomas F. Buhr, Fort Wayne, IN, a combat photographer from the 600th Photo Squadron, was aboard in a non-crew status.

On 02 Nov 1968 Marines from Kilo Company, 3rd Bn, 4th Marines reached the site, some 13 kilometers north of Khe Sanh, and recovered human remains, believed to be those of at least five men. A mortuary report from 15 Jan 1969 stated that only the remains of Captain William H. Taylor could be individually identified.

The unidentified remains were given a group burial with military honors in Site 346, Section 81, of the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Saint Louis, Missouri.





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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 30 Jun 2005
Last updated 08/10/2009