William Taliaferro was born on August 11, 1949, in Los Angeles, California. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on August 31, 1966, and completed basic training at MCRD San Diego, California, in November 1966. Pvt Taliaferro next attended infantry training at MCB Camp Pendleton, California, from November 1966 to January 1967, followed by service as a rifleman with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 27th Marine Regiment of the 5th Marine Division at Camp Pendleton from January to November 1967. Cpl Taliaferro then deployed to Southeast Asia, where he served as a rifleman with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division in South Vietnam from November 1967 until he was captured and taken as a Prisoner of War on February 4, 1968. After spending 8 days in captivity he managed to escape from his captors on February 12, 1968, and made it to friendly lines the next day, on February 13. He then returned to the United States, and was hospitalized at the U.S. Naval Hospital at St. Albans, New York, before receiving being medically retired from the Marine Corps on November 17, 1968. William Taliaferro died on December 13, 1992, and was buried at the Utah State Veterans Memorial Park in Bluffdale, Utah.
His Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For heroic achievement in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam while serving with Company K, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division. On 6 February 1968, Corporal TALIAFERRO's company became engaged with a large North Vietnamese Army force in Quang Nam Province and sustained several casualties. Alertly observing a wounded Marine lying within a few feet of an enemy position, Corporal TALIAFERRO left his covered position and began maneuvering toward the casualty. As he approached to within ten meters of the injured man, he was wounded and dragged into a hostile emplacement by two North Vietnamese soldiers. A few days later, exhibiting bold initiative and resolute determination, he escaped from the enemy forces and returned to his unit. Corporal TALIAFERRO's courage, exceptional resourcefulness and steadfast devotion to duty in the face of extreme personal danger were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
Corporal TALIAFERRO is authorized to wear the Combat "V".