Rodger Young

Saturday, October 20, AD 2012

Something for the weekend.  The Ballad of Roger Young.  Born on April 28, 1918 in Tiffin, Ohio, Rodger Young had a happy childhood until in a basketball game in high school he received a head injury which affected his hearing and his eyesight.  He dropped out of high school in his sophomore year because he could not hear the teachers and could not see the blackboards.

A small man physically, along with his hearing and eyesight problems, Young would have seemed to have been totally unsuited to be a soldier.  Nevertheless, Young joined the National Guard in Ohio in 1938.  He made a good soldier and rose to the rank of Sergeant. He was assigned to Company B of the 148th Infantry Regiment.  With the coming of World War II his regiment was assigned to fight on New Georgia.

Shortly before his unit arrived in New Georgia Young took a voluntary demotion to private.  He was by now almost completely deaf and his eyesight was worse and he didn’t think under these conditions he could perform the duties of a squad leader.  With these disabilities his commanding officer wanted to send Young to the hospital.  Young pleaded his case to remain with his unit with such passion, that he was allowed to stay with Company B.

A week after his unit landed in New Georgia, Young was part of a 20 man patrol near Munda that ran into a Japanese ambush.  What he did next earned Young the Medal of Honor and cost him his life.  Here is the text of his Medal of Honor citation:

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10 Responses to Rodger Young

  • One wonders with such a legacy of American heroes and heroines, why they receive no popularization. We hear and see all about Reality TV stars and TV actors and actresses, but there is almost complete silence on our real heroes and heroines except for a few isolated cases such as TAC.

  • “One wonders with such a legacy of American heroes and heroines, why they receive no popularization.”

    They used to. Back in 63-64 on CBS there was a series called The Great Adventure. One episode was about Rodger Young:

    http://www.tv.com/shows/the-great-adventure/rodger-young-376551/

    Another epsidode concerned Sister Blandina and Billy the Kid:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0592457/

    I watched the series as a small boy, although my memories of it are hazy. I wish the series would be released on DVD!

  • PWP: That was then. This is now.

    In 1944, the whole country was at war, whether in arms, brothers/husbands/sons in arms, rationing, war industries, etc.

    Hollywood was releasing movies like “The Fighting Sullivans” wherein all the brothers were KIA in a Naval battle. The people (and most specifically our gallant troops) knew it was not about heroics (like Obama, Rambo, SEAL teams, etc.). It was about millions’ courage, devotion, and sacrifice.

    The average American in 1944 would be stunned if you told her/him that a dull and illogical appeaser/apologizer would be president in 2012. They would have given better odds on Martians running Washington.

  • Here’s what our elite, genius rulers are doing today.

    Since Obama took over, Afghan assassins infiltrated in the ANA/ANP murdered more than 100 US troops. Washington’s reaction: crickets. MSM reaction: zzzz.

    In contrast, two US sailors are arrested for allegedly raping a Japanese woman in Okinawa. Washington’s reaction: mandatory curfew (2300 – 0500) for 50,000 US military personnel in Japan, including the commanding general.

    Here a report from the “front.” “Two sailors down in Okinawa were accused of raping a local national and the American ambassador (in all his wisdom) pushed out a blanket punishment to all US Forces Japan. So now, no one is going to get raped anymore because military personnel cannot be outside of an installation or their quarters between 2300 and 0500.”

    Here is my suggestion for that ambassador’s next assignment: Benghazi, Libya.

  • Could todays lack of duty, honor and courage be due to the lack of Gods grace?
    A sharing in Gods life. Could be.
    Pvt. Youngs story is one of selflessness. A rarity in the age of entitlements.
    Thank you for introducing me to another one of my families benefactors that until tonight was unknown to us.
    God be with our veterans.

  • I first heard of Rodger Young forty years ago (yikes!) from Robert Heinlein’s “juvenile” Starship Troopers (remade into the horrible movie).
    The young hero serves in the Mobile Infantry and is assigned to a ship named Roger D. Young, the ballad is his regiment’s battle call.

    In in so-called juveniles RAH managed to reflection on the role of gov’t, the meaning of citizenship, &c.

  • Heinlein also mentions Rodger Young in the short story The Long Watch where the protagonist who has stopped an attempted military coup is dying alone of radiation poisoning and heroes of history gather silently around him.

  • I was privledged to serve in B Co, 1 Bn, 148th Inf. I joined just out of High School. The 148th had returned to the Ohio National Guard. I had read Starship Troopers in high school. Imagine my surprise when the Friend who had introduced me to Heinlein, showed me the bulletin board at our Armory. Their was Rodger Young’s photo and 6 more photos. Five of those were from WWII, and One from the Korean War. This was the Legacy that I tried to live up to during my entire Military Career. Peace.

  • Listening to this brings visions of men in armor exo-suits leap-frogging to a waiting orbiter.

  • Avalon Hill did a game on StarShip Troopers that was much more in the spirit of the book than was the misbegotten movie:

    http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/670/starship-troopers