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Alfred Heber Taylor II  (1924 - 2022)

Al Taylor (1943)     
Technician 5th Grade – Alfred "Al" Taylor (1943)
Served July 1943 to March 1946

10th Armored Division, 80th Armored Medical Battalion, Headquarters Company

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Alfred Heber Taylor
Junior classman at the University of Arkansas in 1948

The French Legion of Honor
The Legion of Honor is bestowed upon French citizens as well as foreign nationals who have served France or the ideals it upholds, including individuals who have contributed to the country professionally, as well as veterans such as the Americans who risked their lives during World War II fighting on French soil.

November 4, 2014
Alfred Taylor receives the French Legion of Honor at the Salon of the Grand Chancellors, Palace of Salm, Paris, France





June 25, 2016
Dedication of the 10th Armored Division monument at Malling, France near the Moselle River

June 25, 2016
Alfred Heber Taylor receives the insignia of the International Order of Lafayette in Malling France

October 20, 2021
Heber Taylor studies the battle route of the 80th Armored Medical Battalion

Alfred Heber Taylor II
01 Aug 1924 – 28 Feb 2022

Heber Taylor, a retired journalism professor and veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, answered the Call of Taps on Feb. 28, 2022, bringing to a close a life defined by love of God, family, and country, by quiet dignity, and by glittering world-class honors.  He was 97.

In 1955, Heber was among the first academics to earn a Ph.D. in journalism from the University of Missouri, the only institution offering the degree.  As recipient of Fulbright and Rockefeller Fellowships, he traveled to Oslo to study the Norwegian press in 1953. His dissertation surveyed Morgenbladet, one of the leading newspapers of Scandinavia.

He taught at public and private universities, including Abilene Christian, Tennessee at Martin, Wisconsin at Superior, Memphis, Arkansas at Little Rock, Texas State, Stephen F. Austin and Harding.  He also chaired journalism departments and advised student publications.

Alfred Heber Taylor II was born on Aug. 1, 1924, to Alfred Heber Taylor and Mary Read Morgan, who farmed near Trenton, Tennessee.  His father died when he was 7, and the family, which included his older sister, Virginia Taylor Hardaway, struggled through the Depression. 

Heber developed an interest in journalism in his teens and covered high school sports for a local weekly.  But his prospects for higher education were bleak.  When he graduated from Peabody High School in 1942, his mother offered him either a year of business school or a quarter at Memphis State. He chose college and made the money stretch to finish his freshman year before being drafted into the army in July 1943.

After basic training at Fort Benning, he was selected to study engineering in the intense Army Specialized Training Program at the University of Georgia, which awarded the bachelor's in 15 months.  But the ASTP was disbanded in March 1944 when it was realized that the war in Europe might be won quickly with more invasion troops.  He was assigned to serve as a radio operator in the 10th Armored Division’s 80th Medical Battalion Headquarters Company at Camp Gordon and mastered Morse code within weeks.  He was deployed to France in September 1944.

The division, which was part of Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army, fought at Metz during the Battle of Lorraine in November 1944; played a major role in halting the German’s Bulge offensive through the Ardennes at the Siege of Bastogne, Belgium, in December 1944; and seized Trier and many other German cities in 1945.  Heber made friendships in Luxembourg and France that would last until death.  During the Occupation, he wrote sports for the Bremen Port Commander and traveled with the teams until he repatriated in March 1946.

The war opened the door to educational opportunities through the G.I. Bill. He earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Arkansas in 1948, serving as sports editor and then managing editor for the Arkansas Traveler.  He received a master’s from Vanderbilt in 1949.  Heber had planned to pursue a career as a sportswriter, but was persuaded to give teaching a try at Abilene Christian in Abilene, Texas. There he met and married his beloved Jean Cariker, an English major from Jacksonville, Texas. They raised two sons and remained devoted to each other until her passing in 1989.  They were dedicated members of the churches of Christ.

Although Heber chose a career in education, he held a passion for sports at all levels. He became a St. Louis Cardinals fan at the age of 10 during the Gashouse Gang's championship year of 1934.

In retirement, he wrote prolifically as a free-lancer, played tennis to win and traveled extensively.  He attended 10th Armored Division and Battle of the Bulge reunions in the US and participated in Second World War commemorations in France and Luxembourg in 2010 - 2016 as the guest of the Moselle River 1944 and US Veterans Friends of Luxembourg Associations.

At the age of 90, Heber represented the entire Greatest Generation when President François Hollande of France selected him to be the only American decorated in 2014 at the Palace of Salm, the seat of the Legion of Honor, in Paris.  The Grand Chancellor performed the investiture.  Although he had published scores of features drawing attention to others, Heber refused publicity for one of the rarest honors ceremonies in the world.

He was the only veteran to attend the inauguration of the only monument in all of France dedicated to his 10th Armored Division in 2016.  The sculpture is located at Malling, near the site of a pontoon bridge on which his battalion crossed the Moselle River. Heber received the insignia of the International Order of Lafayette during the ceremony.

In 2017, he was received at the George C. Marshall Museum of Lexington, Va., as the last apparent surviving American witness of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony of 1953 honoring General Marshall, to which he and Jean were invited during the Fulbright year in Norway.

Heber survived his sister and nephew, Richard Hardaway, of Trenton.  Among his survivors are his sons, Heber III of San Antonio, Texas, and Jeff of Searcy; his niece, Jenny Roberts, her son, James, and his daughter, Shyanne, of California; and his niece, Pam Bernard, of Idaho.  At his request, there will be no public service.

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