COL Edward J. Taylor Jr., 84, died peacefully on March 12, 2021 after a courageous battle of cancer related illnesses complicated by COVID-19 pneumonia.
Edward J. Taylor Jr. was born to Edward J. Taylor and Lucy Woodburn in Albany, New York. He graduated from Bethlehem Central HS in 1954. He attended Cornell University in Ithica, NY, was a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity and graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Hotel Administration in 1958. In 1977, Ed received a Master of Science Degree in Business Management from Indiana State University. COL Taylor was commissioned a Regular Army Officer in the Medical Service Corps in 1958. Upon completion of the Officer Basic Course, he was assigned to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In 1959, he reported to Camp Wolters, Texas for Rotary Wing Training and was assigned to the 54th Medical Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance Unit) in Korea as a H-13, litter pod equipped, Medical Evacuation Pilot. He then served as an Aeromedical Evacuation Pilot with the 45th Medical Company (Air Ambulance) in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina and Schweinfurt, Germany following the Company’s deployment to Europe during the Berlin buildup. Ed met his “Rose of San Antone,” Roswitha Erika Salmela in San Antonio and they were married at the Ft. Sam Houston Main Chapel, on July 11th, 1964, where he served with the 82nd Med Det (HA). In 1965, he was assigned to the 57th Med Det (HA), the original “DUSTOFF” unit, Saigon, Republic of Vietnam, as the Operations Officer and Medical Evacuation Pilot.
COL Taylor returned to the United States to attend the Officer Advanced Course at Ft. Sam Houston and upon completion of the course he was assigned to Ft. Benning, Georgia as Executive Officer of the 197th Armed Helicopter Company and in 1968 he returned to the Republic of Vietnam to assume command of the 82nd Med Det stationed in Soc Trang. COL Taylor returned again to Ft. Sam Houston and then later went on to attend Command General Staff College in 1970 in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. He served as Aviation Officer, 7th Medical Brigade, and then the 30th Medical Group and Commander, 32nd Combat Support Hospital, Stuttgart, Germany. In 1973, he was assigned to Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, and from 1978 to 1984, served with the Combat Development, Academy of Health Sciences, Ft. Sam Houston. In 1984, Ed returned to Europe as Senior Medical Staff Officer for the Office of the Command Surgeon, Headquarters United States European Command, in Vaihingen, Germany. While in that position, he was instrumental in medical evacuation for released hostages and the development of medical support plans for anticipated terrorist activities. Ed’s final assignment was as Product Manager for the TAMMIS Project at Ft. Sam Houston.
COL Taylor retired from his thirty years of distinguished military service on November 1, 1988. His military education includes Rotary Wing Aviation, and Command and General Staff College, as well as a Master Army Aviator with 1500 combat hours and a total of 3100 flying hours. COL Taylor was awarded the Silver Star, Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with 37 Oak Leaf Clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, National Defense Service Medal, and Army Service Ribbon. He has been recognized with the Order of Military Medical Merit, the Sikorsky Aircraft “Flying S” Lifesaving Award and is a life member and past president of the DUSTOFF association.
Upon retirement from the Military, Ed joined a fellow military comrade and worked another 10 years with North American InTeleCom, as VP of Operations. He also volunteered with the Census Bureau and the Valero Texas Open for many years. Ed always enjoyed a round of golf with his buddies and joining his fellow “SOLO” Pilots for luncheons. Ed and Rose found great enjoyment in their travels across the United States and beyond. They became frequent “Cruisers” and embarked on many adventures. They are founding members of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church where they served as RCI sponsors and the Welcoming Committee for many years. Together, they created a beautiful family and shared a loving marriage of nearly 58 years. Ed loved making memories with Rose, their daughter’s, and husbands, and five grandchildren, cruising to Caribbean ports, lounging on the beautiful beaches of Mexico, and ski trips to Colorado and Utah.
Ed will be remembered for his love of animals, intense faith, humility, honor and love of his country and the Flag of the United States of America.
Edward J. Taylor Jr. was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Donna Collins. He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Rose; daughters, Monica Jendrusch (Alan), and Jenine Beckel (Brad); grandchildren, Taylor and Lindsey Jendrusch, Nicole Bingham (Ryan), and Brandon and Clayton Beckel; and niece and nephew, Kimberly and Michael Collins.
The family would like to acknowledge and thank the doctors and staff at Brooke Army Medical Center for their dedication and compassionate care, VITAS Inpatient Hospice Unit for their empathy given to him during his last few days.