Vietnam, Desert Storm
Jeremy “Bear” Taylor completed fighter pilot training and was commissioned a U.S. Navy Ensign in 1957. As a pilot of a Light Attack “tailhooker,” Taylor accumulated more than 6,000 flight hours in fighters and trainers, over 1,000 carrier landings, was assigned duty on 13 different aircraft carriers and flew 50 additional types and models of aircraft, including 10 models of helicopters, in his flying career. He spent more than 14 years at sea, seeing duty in all the world’s oceans, except the Antarctic. During the Vietnam War, he flew the A4 Skyhawk with the “Stingers” of Attack Squadron 113 embarked on the USS Enterprise and during the Vietnam conflict, flew more than 200 Rolling Thunder dive-bombing and strike missions in North Vietnam.
In 1967, Taylor earned the Navy’s Distinguished Flying Cross after participating in a highly successful coordinated attack by a large air strike group on the Van Dien vehicle depot at Hanoi. He entered an extremely hostile surface-to-air missile area ahead of the strike group to draw off and suppress enemy opposition. With skillful maneuvering, he avoided the first volley of enemy missiles, fired his first BULLPUP and scored a direct hit. He stayed in the lethal area, fired his second missile, causing further destruction to the site allowing the strike group to drop their rockets and pass unharmed.
In a second tour in Vietnam as Strike Plans Officer on the staff of Commander, Carrier Striking Forces, Pacific, Taylor’s operational commands included a carrier based A7 Corsair attack squadron, a carrier air wing, the replenishment oiler USS Kalamazoo, the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea, and the Strike Fighter Wing of the Pacific Fleet. He served four tours and 10 years on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operation at the Pentagon in Washington DC as a designated sub-specialist in financial management and operations analysis.
During Desert Storm, Taylor received the Navy Distinguished Service Medal for “spearheading efforts for increased jointness” between Navy and Air Force cooperation in air-to-air missiles, unmanned air vehicles and air-to-ground weapons. His staff completed over 50 initiatives including electronic warfare upgrades, advanced weapons integrations and increased MK-83 bomb production that significantly enhanced the combat capability of Navy and Marine aircraft.
Among Taylor’s military awards are four Legion of Merit awards, the Bronze Star, 22 Air Medals and three Navy Commendation Medals with “V” device. In the air, ashore and at sea, Taylor was Master and Commander and was proud to be labeled a “Crew’s Captain” while in command-at-sea and a “Carrier Admiral” in the halls of the Pentagon.
He retired as a Rear Admiral in 1992. Of his 36 years as a Naval Aviator and Officer, Taylor said, “I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”