E. Tayloe Wise grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia. He graduated from Texas Christian University in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Sociology-Anthropology. Four weeks after his college graduation he volunteered for the United States Army. Trained as an Infantryman, he arrived in Vietnam in April 1969, where he was assigned to Company B, 2/8 Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Division whose theater of operations was in Tay Ninh Province some 60 miles northwest of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City). While assigned to Bravo Company, he became a medic after his first firefight. He received numerous combat decorations including an Army Commendation Medal and several Bronze Stars for heroism.
He returned to the United States in April 1970 and worked in his family's real estate business until 1989 when he retired. He received his Master of Arts degree in History from the University of Richmond in 1991. He went on to post-graduate study at The American University in Washington, DC and Texas Christian University. He began teaching at the University of Richmond in 1997 where he has taught Geography, East Asian History, Modern Chinese History, and the Vietnam War from the Combat Soldier's Perspective.
Tayloe and Prof. Bolt traveled together in Vietnam in May-June 1998. This was the first time Tayloe had returned to Vietnam, and while there, he sought to find the location of his fire base, LZ Becky. Before Prof. Wise's guest lecture in the Richmond section of the ACS online course, The Vietnam Experience, Richmond students should read the section of his journal on reserve in Boatwright Library.