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Jack Hedrick Taylor

Home of record: California
Status: POW

Jack Taylor was recommended for the Army Distinguished Service Cross by Major General William J. Donovan, father of the OSS. He was subsequently awarded the Navy Cross instead.

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Navy Cross

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Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Jack Hedrick Taylor (NSN: 0-178727), United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Chief of the Maritime Unit, Office of Strategic Services Detachment, United States Armed Forces, in the Middle East, from September 1943 to March 1944. Lieutenant Taylor personally commanded fourteen separate sorties to the Greek and Balkan enemy-occupied coasts. This activity was carried out despite intense enemy efforts to prevent any kind of coastal traffic whatsoever. Lieutenant Taylor, through clandestine operations, deserving of the highest commendation, and careful planning and skillful navigation effected numerous evacuations of intelligence agents, doctors, nurses and downed airmen. Tons of arms, ammunition, explosives, and other military supplies, were delivered to Marshall Tito and other resistance forces through the efforts of Lieutenant Taylor. For three months, at all times surrounded by enemy forces, and on three occasions forced to flee from enemy searching parties, Lieutenant Taylor and his intelligence team operated in Central Albania and transmitted by clandestine radio important information regarding enemy troop movements, supply dumps, coastal fortifications, anti-aircraft installations and other military intelligence of great value to the Allied forces. Parachuting into enemy territory on the night of 13 October 1944, with a team of three American deserter-volunteers he had personally trained and briefed, he began a secret intelligence mission to Austria. Handicapped from the very start by failure of their plane to drop radio equipment, living in constant danger of capture and the physical and mental strain on his men; the courage and energy of Lieutenant Taylor prevailed and throughout the remainder of October and November the mission collected target intelligence of the highest value to the Allies. On 30 November, the eve of their departure for Italy, the part y was captured by the Gestapo. Through four months of imprisonment in Vienna and one month in the Mauthausen prison camp, he was subjected to the customary interrogation methods of the Gestapo. During his capture, Lieutenant Taylor injured his left arm seriously. With this handicap and also being forced to exist on starvation ration and to work at hard labor he resisted all attempts to force him to divulge security matters. At Mauthausen he was the trusted confidant of hundreds of prisoners. On 28 April he was to be executed, but his death warrant was removed and destroyed by a friendly worker in the camp office. After rescue on 5 May 1945 by the first American reconnaissance party to reach Manthausen, he returned to the prison camp shortly thereafter where he spent three weeks supervising the collection of detailed evidence of SS atrocities there. The JAG, AFHG, Caserta pronounced this material to be the finest and most complete War Crimes dossier they had ever seen. Lieutenant Taylor personifies the highest type of American Officer. His heroic actions, his courage and fortitude during periods of extreme stress, and the brilliant results of his operations have been an essential aid to the victory of Allied Arms.

General Orders: Board Serial 3415 (January 3, 1946)

Action Date: September 1943 - March 1944

Service: Navy

Rank: Lieutenant

Company: Chief of the Maritime Unit

Division: Office of Strategic Services

Prisoner of War Medal

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Awarded for actions during the World War II

Lieutenant Jack Hedrick Taylor (NSN: 0-178727), United States Naval Reserve, was captured by German forces on 30 November 1944 while he was serving with the O.S.S., and was held as a Prisoner of War until his return to U.S. Military Control on 5 May 1945.

General Orders: NARA Database: Records of World War II Prisoners of War, created, 1942 - 1947

Action Date: November 30, 1944 - May 5, 1945

Service: Navy

Rank: Lieutenant

Division: Prisoner of War (Germany)