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First Name: Karl

Last Name: Taylor

Birthplace: Laurel, MD, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Home of Record: Baltimore, MD
Middle Name: Gorman

Date of Birth: 14 July 1939

Date of Death: 08 December 1968

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Years Served: 1959-1968
Karl Gorman Taylor, Sr.

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Karl Gorman Taylor, Sr.
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Staff Sergeant Karl Gorman Taylor, Sr. (14 July 1939 - 8 December 1968) was a U.S. Marine who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions in Vietnam in December 1968.

Karl Gorman Taylor was born on 14 July 1939 in Laurel, MD. He graduated from Arundel Junior High School in 1953 and then attended Arundel Senior High School 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, WI.

Taylor enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps along with his brother, Walter William Taylor, at Recruiting Station Baltimore on 15 January 1959. Upon completion of recruit training with the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, he went on to infantry combat training with the 1st Infantry Training Regiment, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. 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, 2nd Marine Division. He was promoted to Private First Class on 1 July 1959; to Lance Corporal on 1 March 1960; and to Corporal on 24 October 1960. From January until February 1962, he attended the Drill Instructor School at Parris Island and then served as a Drill Instructor at 2nd Recruit Training Battalion until January 1963.

After his 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. On 26 March 1963, he returned to active duty at Marine Corps Base Quantico, 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 3rd Marine Division, in August 1964, Sgt Taylor spent a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam as a rocket section leader and platoon guide, with Company G, 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines. Reassigned to Sub Unit #2, Headquarters Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific in August 1965, he served as an instructor for the NCO Leadership School until the following November.

Upon his return to the U.S. in January 1966, Sgt Taylor returned to 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 3rd Marine Division, this time for duty as platoon Sergeant and Company Gunnery Sergeant of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment. While participating in Operation Meade River on 8 December 1968, he was mortally wounded while charging an enemy machine gun bunker to allow his platoon to rescue wounded Marines. He was able to take out the enemy position just before he was killed. For this heroic action, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, Company 1, 3d Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment, 3d Marine Division (Rein), FMF.

Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 8 December 1968.

Entered service at: Baltimore, MD. Born: 14 July 1939, Laurel, MD.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving at night as a company gunnery sergeant during Operation MEADE RIVER. Informed that the commander of the lead platoon had been mortally wounded when his unit was pinned down by a heavy volume of enemy fire, S/Sgt. 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 machinegun position, S/Sgt. Taylor, accompanied by 4 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 companions to return to the company command post; whereupon he took his grenade launcher and in full view of the enemy, charged across the open rice paddy toward the machinegun position, firing his weapon as he ran. Although wounded several times, he succeeded in reaching the machinegun 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, S/Sgt. Taylor, by his indomitable courage, inspiring leadership, and selfless dedication, upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the U.S. Naval Service.

On 16 February 1971, President Richard Nixon, in a White House ceremony, presented SSgt Taylor's Medal of Honor to his family; his wife, daughter, age 8, and two sons, age 7 and 4.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart
Navy Presidential Unit Citation w/ 1 Service Star
Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal w/ 2 Service Stars
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal w/ 3 Service Stars
Vietnam Military Merit Medal
Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ Palm
Vietnam Campaign Medal

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The name Karl Gorman Taylor is inscribed on Panel 37W, Row 070.


• SSgt. Karl Taylor's son, Kevin, followed his father's footstep, enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1984. In 1997, he was with the Construction Equipment Repair Branch, MCB Quantico, Virginia.

• The Marine Corps League's detachment #1084 - the SSgt Karl G. Taylor Detachment - is named in honor of the Medal of Honor recipient.

Death and Burial

Staff Sergeant Karl Gorman Taylor, Sr. was killed in action on 8 December 1968. He is buried at Independence Cemetery in Independence Township, Washington County, PA.

Honoree ID: 1097   Created by: MHOH




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