Meet retired Lieutenant Colonel Roger Young. Born in December of 1931 in Stamford, Connecticut, Roger relays the story of how the bombing of Pearl Harbor so upset his parents when he was just ten years old. Way too young for that conflict, Roger grew up in a life typical of many Americans of that time.
He played pick-up sports just like any average American kid but the leadership drive came early to him when he served as the High School Council President in his senior year, graduating in the top twenty in 1949.
In spite of a one year scholarship at MIT Roger realized he lacked the artistic skills needed for a degree in architecture. In 1954 he graduated from the University of Connecticut and used his ROTC platform to enter active duty in 1954.
While a senior at the University he met his Bride-to-be, Dawn, a high school senior at the time. They married in 1955, with Dawn entering Nursing in that year.
Now on active military duty, Roger was assigned to a post in Alaska where the first of their children was born. In February of 1957 a new baby came to join the fold. Roger served then at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks at a 120 mm Air Defense Battery In October of 1959 he moved to Ft. Bragg, NC, working with the Twin 40 mm and Quad 50 caliber Anti-Aircraft weapons. Here Roger made the rank of Captain.
After leaving active duty in 1961 Roger faced some difficulty finding a compatible career even though still being a reservist. Roger reapplied for active duty in 1963 going to Ft. Sill, OK where he became a 105 mm Howitzer Battery Commander. Given a Regular Army Commission, Roger was assigned to the 11th Air Assault Division which became the 1st Air Calvary Division.
He left Savannah, GA in 1965 on a troop ship where a 30-day ocean voyage put him into South Vietnam.
In the Vietnamese Highlands the life of an Officer was not without hardship, he and another officer sharing a pup tent, sleeping on the ground. The group had thirty nine helicopters in the command arrying the 2.75 air launched rocket. When it became necessary to assign PFC’s as door gunners, Roger had ccasion to volunteer as door gunner, sitting on a flack jacket to block enemy fire from below. “This gave the PFC’s a rest”, Roger said.
Roger’s next stateside assignment was in the Ohio State ROTC program as Assistant Professor of Military Science. This was not to be permanent as Roger made his second tour of Vietnam in 1970. He served in the Vietnamese Delta as in the Military Advisor to the South Vietnamese Army. Taking a six month extension gave Roger a chance for a 30 day R&R where he met up with Dawn in Hawaii.
After the double war zone tours Roger was sent to Ft. Monroe, VA where he served from 1971 thru 1977. Part of his duties was with the Continental Army Command’s Manpower Division. While here Roger was advanced to the rank of Major, retiring from the Military in 1977, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
We are grateful for Roger’s distinguished service to his country and are grateful that two tours of combat areas let Roger come home alive. We salute you, Lieutenant Colonel Young!
(LTC Young resides in Florida with his wife, Dawn)
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