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Bruce R. Taylor


Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Major Bruce R. Taylor, United States Air Force, for gallantry in action in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force while serving with the 711th Special Operations Squadron near Baghdad, Iraq, on 2 April 2003. On that date, Major Taylor, as MC-130 Aircraft Commander of STEEL 73 flight, was tasked to support a package of four Special Forces MH-47s, infiltrating Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces and other government agents to the Iraqi leader's Thar-Thar Palace, the suspecting hiding grounds for weapons of mass destruction. Major Taylor bravely led his MC-130E Combat Talon I aircraft into the heart of the Iraqi air defense and known SA-2, SA-3, and SA-8 sites to refuel the MH-47 package. As the second element lead, Major Taylor unhesitatingly flew his aircraft directly in the same airspace where a surface-to-air missile had just been launched at the formation lead aircraft. Once inside the previous engagement area and while performing low-level refueling, Major Taylor's aircraft was fired upon by a suspected SA-8 surface-to-air missile. Utilizing his abundance of combat experience, he masked his presence over the helicopter package and continued to refuel the MH-47s. Because of the proximity of helicopters in trail below, the aircraft were able to disperse countermeasures, placing Major Taylor's crew in grave danger of being destroyed by the launched missile. On night vision goggles, barely 400 feet above the ground, and under blowing dust, Major Taylor continued with the refueling mission knowing that by breaking off, the helicopters would face severe difficulty retrieving fuel and successfully completing their critical mission. Because of his actions, under extreme conditions while flying over a previous missile launch and also being targeted by a second missile launch, Major Taylor was a combat lighthouse guiding his crew and a Special Forces package through a storm of uncertainty. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Major Taylor has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

General Orders: Department of the Air Force, Special Order GA-0306 (September 1, 2004)

Action Date: April 2, 2003

Service: Air Force

Rank: Major

Battalion: 711th Special Operations Squadron

Regiment: 919th Operations Group