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Private Rodger W. Young

To the everlasting glory of the Infantry...Shines the name...Shines the name of Rodger Young.
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In October 1940 Young and his unit, Company B, 148th Infantry Regiment, 37th Infantry Division, were activated for Federal service as part of American preparations for World War 2.  At that time, Young was a corporal, training new recruits in small arms handling. Following a promotion to sergeant, Young was assigned to lead an Infantry squad.  In 1942, soon after America's entry into the war, the 148th embarked for Fiji, and after that to the nearby Solomon Islands, for training prior to a deployment to the Japanese-held island of New Georgia. Due to a childhood injury, Young's hearing and eyesight had deteriorated to a point where, taking into account the safety of those under him, he requested a demotion to private, which would render him unable to command a squad.

When Young submitted his request to the company commander, the commander initially thought Young was malingering in order to avoid combat; however, a medical examination carried out soon after determined that Young was nearly deaf, which convinced the commander to demote him.  The examining doctor recommended that Young go to a field hospital for treatment. However, not wanting to miss the New Georgia landing, Young requested to remain with his squad.  The commander accepted his request and a week later, on July 31, 1943, Young carried out the actions that led to his posthumous award of the Medal of Honor. 

Nine days into the Battle of Munda Point, on July 31, Young was assigned to a 20-man patrol sent out at around 4:00 p.m. to reconnoiter Japanese territory. After achieving their objective, the patrol was returning to American lines when they were ambushed by five Japanese soldiers.  Heavy fire from the enemy, who were concealed in a machine gun pit 75 yards away on higher ground, prevented further movement forward of the patrol. Two soldiers were killed in the initial burst and Young was wounded. During an attempt to flank the enemy, two more soldiers were killed. At this point, the patrol leader ordered a withdrawal.  Young, ignoring both the order to withdraw and his wound, began crawling towards the Japanese position. Another machine gun burst wounded Young a second time, but he continued his advance, drawing the enemy fire away from his squad. As Young drew closer to the machine gun pit, he began responding with rifle fire and by throwing hand grenades at the nest, wounding or killing most of the soldiers inside. Young was soon hit by enemy fire and killed.  Because of his actions, Young's platoon was able to withdraw from the ambush without any further casualties.

On January 6, 1944, Young's family was presented with the Medal of Honor.  Young's Medal of Honor citation reads:

On July 31, 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.

Young's body was transferred to the United States in July 1949 and is now buried in McPherson Cemetery in Clyde, Ohio.