This Memorial Day, we honor the memory of Warrant Officer First Class, Eric W. Taylor (1948-1970), the 100th Delawarean to be killed in Vietnam. Taylor, a 1966 graduate of the Tatnall School in Wilmington, had been enrolled at Columbia University for a year and a half before enlisting in the US Army in September 1968. After completing both basic and specialized flight training, he served as a helicopter pilot with Company A of the 227th Aviation Battalion, First Air Cavalry Division, in Vietnam from September 17, 1969 until February 18, 1970, when he was killed in action near Lai Khe.
A funeral service with full military honors was held in Wilmington on February 27th and final interment was at Arlington National Cemetery. Eric Taylor’s parents later expressed their deeply felt thanks at his respectful treatment in a letter to Delaware senator J. Caleb Boggs dated March 23, 1970 (now in the DHS archives): “The military liaison officer in Wilmington, the officer who escorted the body, and all military and civilian personnel at Arlington gave us the impression that this was a completely individual circumstance and that deep, truly-felt honors were being paid to our son. […] We wanted you to know of our experience and to tell you how comforting it was and how proud it made us feel to realize that our country will still pause to pay a personal tribute to an individual soldier.” Eric Taylor was awarded both the Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross medals posthumously.