Taylor inducted into Military Hall of Fame

Gary Lanham American Legion Post 142 Hominy
The late Gen. Kenneth Taylor, who distinguished himself in aerial combat at Pearl Harbor, was inducted Oct. 26 into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame. From left are Lt. Col. (Ret.) Charles O’Leary; his wife, Nancy O’Leary; Gen. Taylor’s widow, Flora Love-Taylor; Gary Lanham; and U.S. Navy veteran and Post 142 Adjutant John Hamilton. Courtesy

HOMINY — Our hometown hero, (Ret.) Brig. General Kenneth Taylor, was inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame the evening of Oct. 26 in Norman, Okla.

Our Vice Commander, Charles O’Leary; Post Adjutant, John Hamilton; and yours truly attended the banquet and represented the post and the town at this induction of the guy who shot down the first of four Japanese Zeros when they were sneak-attacking Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941.

It was an amazing evening. Honorees that were present were humble and credited their comrades and love of America for, what they considered, was “no big deal.” There were those that were honored posthumously with stories of amazing courage under fire and the ultimate sacrifice. None were forced to; they just rose to the fatal occasion.

A few years ago, we started an initiative to have General Taylor recognized for his accomplishment. After a proclamation was signed by our mayor, through the City Council, it was forwarded on to then Gov. Mary Fallin. She endorsed it and it has been with us for three years.

And so, we met and fellowshipped with the general’s widow, Flora Love-Taylor, and family. They were amazed when they saw the Governor’s Proclamation. They had heard about it, but to actually see it was stunning.

A special shout out to Lt. Col John Granier, who escorted the dignitaries. The man had class at a special level. I sat with a full bird, Col. U.S. Air Force, who earned his award for being an Ace Fighter Pilot in Vietnam. As a former armament loader, we traded many great stories. He was a perfect gentleman to all the ladies at the table. Gen. Taylor’s widow insisted on a picture with us together with the proclamation. What a sweet, articulate, intelligent lady.

In the end we had a long but rewarding experience in Norman, one that we will never forget. We represented you, Hominy, and that is an honor that the O’Learys, Hamiltons and Lanhams will treasure for the rest of our lives.