MARVIN REX YOUNG (1947 ~ 1968). Marvin "Rex" Young was born on May 11, 1947, in Alpine, Texas, to Roy Clinton and Marilyn Young. His parents divorced soon after his birth, and Young moved with his mother to Odessa, Texas. Young attended Permian Basin High School, where he played football and baseball. His mother moved to California before his senior year, but Young remained in Odessa to finish high school.
After graduating from high school in 1965, he attended Odessa College for one semester. He then attended the College of Marin in Kentfield, California, before joining the Army in Odessa in September 1966. Young was trained at Fort Bliss, Texas, and Fort Polk, Louisiana, before being deployed to Vietnam on October 20, 1967.
Young rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant with Company C, First Battalion (Mechanized), Fifth Infantry, 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam. He was also wounded twice, once in December 1967 and again in February 1968. On August 21, 1968, Young was acting as squad leader on a reconnaissance mission near Ben Cui when his unit was attacked by an estimated regiment of the North Vietnamese Army. During the initial exchange of fire the forward platoon was pinned down, sustained several casualties, and lost its commander. Young assumed command without hesitation and began organizing his men into defensive positions. The enemy sent a wave of attackers onto Young's platoon and Young moved from man to man to provide encouragement and direct fire. He received orders to withdraw from the area and remained behind to provide covering fire for his platoon's retreat. Young noticed that one group of soldiers was unable to retreat and began moving toward them through enemy fire. He received a critical head injury on his way to the men, but Young continued on to assist their withdrawal. As the group fought its way back, Young was wounded in the arm and leg by enemy fire. Knowing that stopping for medical assistance would slow the withdrawal and endanger his men, Young refused any aid. He ordered his men to continue their retreat, but remained behind to provide covering fire, sacrificing himself to protect the men from the advancing enemy force.
Young was initially reported as being missing in action, but the Army soon changed his status to killed in action. For his courage and leadership during the engagement, Young was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. His medal was presented to his family on April 7, 1970, by President Richard M. Nixon at the White House. Young is buried at Sunset Memorial Cemetery in Odessa, Texas.
Bibliography: "Above and Beyond: The Medal of Honor in Texas," Capitol Visitors Center, State Preservation Board of Texas. Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association, University of Texas, http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/YY/fyobz.html, April 26, 2006. "Marvin R. Young," Permian Basin Vietnam Veterans Memorial, http://www.veteransmemorial.us/bios/heroes.php?name=YOUNG,MARVINR., April 26, 2006. "Memorializing Staff Sergeant Marvin 'Rex' Young," House of Representatives, July 29, 2005, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?r109:6:./temp/~r1093g4zIo::, June 14, 2006.