The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom

Staff Sergeant
United States Marine Corps
Karl Taylor


Staff Sergeant Karl G. Taylor
United States Marine Corps

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Gunnery Sergeant during Operation MEADE RIVER in the Republic of Viet Nam on the night of 8 December 1968. Informed the the commander of the lead platoon had been mortally wounded when his unit was pinned down by a heavy volume of enemy fire, Staff Sergeant Taylor along with another Marine, crawled forward to the beleaguered unit through a hail of hostile fire, shouted encouragement and instructions to the men, and deployed them to covered positions. With his companion, he then repeatedly maneuvered across an open area to rescue those Marines who were too seriously wounded to move by themselves. Upon learning that there were still other seriously wounded men lying in another open area, in proximity to an enemy machine gun position, Staff Sergeant Taylor, accompanied by four comrades, led his men forward across the fire-swept terrain in an attempt to rescue the Marines. When his group was halted by devastating fire, he directed his companion to return to the company command post; where-upon he took his grenade launcher and , in full view of the enemy, charged across the open rice paddy toward the machine gun position, firing his weapon as he ran. Although wounded several times, he succeeded in reaching the machine gun bunker and silencing the fire from that sector, moments before he was mortally wounded. Directly instrumental in saving the lives of several of his fellow Marines, Staff Sergeant Taylor, by his indomitable courage, inspiring leadership, and selfless dedication, upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Richard M. Nixon
President of the United States

Karl Gorman Taylor, Sr., who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam in December 1968,was born 14 July 1939, in Laurel, Maryland. He graduated from Arundel Junior High School in 1953, then attended Arundel Senior High School for three years until 1956. After leaving high school, he was employed by a construction company as a Tournapull-Scraper Operator. In 1961, he received a high school equivalency diploma from the Armed Forces Institute in Madison, Wisconsin.

He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps along with his brother, Walter William Taylor, at the Recruiting Station, Baltimore, Maryland, on 15 January 1959. Upon completion of recruit training with the 3d Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, Parris Island, South Carolina, he went on to infantry combat training with the 1st Infantry Training Regiment, Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. After completing infantry training in July 1959, he was assigned duty as a rifleman, section leader, and a platoon guide, successively, with Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, 2d Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, Camp Lejeune.

From January until February 1962, he attended the Drill Instructor School at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, then served as Drill Instructor of the 2d Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, Recruit Depot, Parris Island, until January 1963.

He was promoted to private first class, 1 July 1959; to lance corporal, 1 March 1960, and to corporal, 24 October 1960.

After this enlistment tour was over, Cpl Taylor returned to inactive duty for three months and was with the 4th Marine Corps Reserve and Recruitment District at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On 26 March 1963, he returned to active duty at Quantico, Virginia, and served as Assistant Police Sergeant and, later, Police Sergeant, Guard Company, Service Battalion, Marine Corps Schools. He was promoted to sergeant on 1 December 1963.

Transferred to the 3d Marine Division, in August 1964, Sgt Taylor saw a one year tour of duty as rocket section leader and platoon guide, with Company G, 2d Battalion, 3d Marine Regiment. Reassigned to Sub Unit #2, Headquarters Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, in August 1965, he served as Instructor, NCO Leadership School until the following November.

Upon his return to the United States in January 1966, Sgt Taylor returned to the Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, for duty as Candidate Company Platoon Sergeant and Platoon Sergeant of Company A, Officer Candidate School. He was promoted to staff sergeant on 1 September 1966.

In February 1968, he returned to the Far East and the 3d Marine Division, this time for duty as platoon Sergeant and Company Gunnery Sergeant of Company I, 3d Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment. While participating in Operation Meade River on 8 December 1968, he was mortally wounded.

A complete list of his medals and decorations include: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the Presidential Unit Citation with one bronze star, the Good Conduct Medal with two bronze stars, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnamese Service Medal with three bronze stars, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, the Military Merit Medal, the Gallantry Cross with Palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

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