Roy Taylor (1953/04/13)

Lt. Taylor's after burners failed to re-ignite.

Roy Taylor was born on August 22, 1929, to Mr. and Mrs. William H. Taylor. His birth location has not been identified. The Taylor family, which also included their son William, lived in Corralitos and was active in the All Saints Episcopal Church in Watsonville. Roy spent his formative years in the Pajaro Valley, was educated in local schools and graduated from Watsonville High School in June 1947. He enrolled in Hartnell College in Salinas in the same year and remained there until 1950.

In April 1950, Roy Taylor entered the naval air cadet program. When he graduated from the pre-flight training program at Pensacola, Florida, in August 1950, he was named the outstanding student and judged, "the best all-around man of his class in the academic, military and physical courses." He continued his naval cadet education until October 1951 when he was commissioned an ensign and received his wings.

Taylor was then sent to advanced flight training at Corpus Christi, Texas, carrier training at Pensacola Florida, and jet aircraft instruction at Kingsville, Texas. In March 1952 Ensign Taylor was assigned to Miramar Naval Air Station in California.

Roy arrived Korea in September 1952 and served as a F9F-5 Pantherjet fighter pilot with Fighter Squadron 122 aboard the USS Oriskany.

On April 13, 1953, Lt. (jg) Roy Taylor was returning to the Oriskany after escorting a photography airplane on a mission in Korea, when his plane went down. Lt. Cmdr. J.W. Wyrick, his commanding officer, provided details on the accident.
“They commenced their letdown at 14,000 feet over the ship preparing to land and at 11,000 feet Roy called the photo pilot, on his radio and told him his engine had flamed out. The photo pilot asked Roy where he was and Roy told him that he was just behind and above him. The photo pilot, Lt. J.F. Grosser, then swung out and followed Roy down. Roy made no further radio transmissions, apparently having turned his radio off in order to conserve its energy for his attempted restarts. From 11,000 feet he had ample time to air restart and then use the cartridge igniter for two more attempts. We do not know why the engine flamed out or why it failed to restart. We are sure that he attempted both means of restarting however. He jettisoned his cockpit canopy at about 1,000 feet preparatory to a water landing.
He apparently handled his landing well as he flared out just above the water and let the plane settle in as it slowed down. When he hit the water the fuselage of the plane broke off just forward of the wing, skipped across the water a short distance and sank immediately. The shock of hitting was sufficient at least to have rendered Roy unconscious. The remainder of the plane floated for about a minute, but the two planes that followed him down could find no sign of Roy as the cockpit was in the part that sank.”

Destroyers and helicopters were immediately dispatched to rescue Roy but there was no sign of his plane or body. Lt. (jg) Roy Taylor was officially listed as missing and presumed dead. His awards include the Air Medal, with two Gold Stars.

(ABMC; DANFS, USS Oriskany CV-34; WRP August 28, 1950 1:6, October 3, 1951 10:3, January 3, 1952 9:3, March 27, 1952 16:1, April 14, 1953 1:1, April 29, 1953 10:1)

Creator: Nelson, Robert L.
Source: Remembering our own: the Santa Cruz County military roll of honor 1861-2010. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2010.
Date: Undated
Type: OBIT
Coverage: 1950s
Rights: Reproduced by permission of Robert L. Nelson and The Museum of Art & History.
Identifier: RO-TAYLOR,R

Citation

Nelson, Robert L. “Roy Taylor (1953/04/13).” Remembering our own: the Santa Cruz County military roll of honor 1861-2010. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2010. SCPL Local History. https://history.santacruzpl.org/omeka/items/show/4816. Accessed 26 Nov. 2022.