Thursday, October 15, 2009

Medal of Honor- Pvt Rodger W. Young, US Army

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division.

Place and date: On New Georgia, Solomon Islands, 31 July 1943.

Entered service at: Clyde, Ohio. Birth: Tiffin, Ohio. G.O. No.: 3, 6 January 1944.

Citation: On 31 July 1943, the infantry company of which Pvt. Young was a member, was ordered to make a limited withdrawal from the battle line in order to adjust the battalion's position for the night. At this time, Pvt. Young's platoon was engaged with the enemy in a dense jungle where observation was very limited. The platoon suddenly was pinned down by intense fire from a Japanese machinegun concealed on higher ground only 75 yards away. The initial burst wounded Pvt. Young. As the platoon started to obey the order to withdraw, Pvt. Young called out that he could see the enemy emplacement, whereupon he started creeping toward it. Another burst from the machinegun wounded him the second time. Despite the wounds, he continued his heroic advance, attracting enemy fire and answering with rifle fire. When he was close enough to his objective, he began throwing hand grenades, and while doing so was hit again and killed. Pvt. Young's bold action in closing with this Japanese pillbox and thus diverting its fire, permitted his platoon to disengage itself, without loss, and was responsible for several enemy casualties.

What is not said in the citation is that Rodger Young had joined the National Guard because his hearing and sight difficulties were so great that he thought he would not be accepted into the Regular Army. He attained the rank of Sergeant and then, when his unit was called up for service in WWII, he felt that his sight and hearing would make him a liability as the sergeant and requested rank be reduced to that of a private.

Science fiction author Robert Heinlein pays tribute to Pvt. Young in his novel Starship Troopers, a ship bears the name of Rodger Young in honor of Pvt. Young.

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