MARVIN REX YOUNG, STAFF SERGEANT, U.S. ARMY, ODESSA, ECTOR COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR, Combat Infantryman's Badge, Bronze Star with "V" Device and Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart with 2 Oak Leaf Cluster (3 Awards), Army Commendaton's Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, RVN Military Merit Medal, RVN Cross of Gallantry with Palm
Marvin Rex Young was born in Alpine, Texas, the third child to Marilyn Hoskins and Roy Young. He had an older brother, Charles Ray and an older sister Margaret Lorraine. At the time of his birth, Rex's father, a World War II Navy Veteran was attending Sul Ross State College on the GI bill completing his geology degree. After his father completed college, the family moved first to Hobbs, New Mexico and then to Odessa where his father worked for various oil field service companies. The family moved to Odessa in 1955 and Rex attended Sam Houston Elementary. He then attended Bonham Junior High School. Rex was in the 7th grade when his parents divorced and his father remarried and moved to Anchorage, Alaska. Rex remained in Odessa with his mother and completed the 8th and 9th grade. His brother Charles was in the Navy and his sister was a student at Permian High School. His father adopted his new wife's son, Jens and two daughters, Tammie Denise and Carol Ann were born to this marriage.
Rex went to see his father in Anchorage in the summer before his sophomore year in high school. It was just supposed to be a summer visit, but the family finances were strained and Rex was not able to return to Odessa. He attended Anchorage High School his sophomore year, but longed to return to Odessa and attend Odessa Permian High School. At the time, his mother was living in Salt Lake, Utah and his sister, Margeret had recently married and was living in Odessa. His older brother had discharged from the Navy and was living in the Dallas area. Rex pleaded with his mother and sister to allow him to return to Odessa and complete high school. The A. R. Edgmon family of Odessa invited Rex to reside with them in order for Rex to be able to complete high school and Rex returned to Odessa to complete his last two years of high school at Odessa Permian. He graduted with his class in May 1965.
Rex was a gifted athlete, he was a guard on the Permian football team and a catcher on the baseball team. He was also a gifted artist and wanted to attend Texas Tech and enroll in the architect program there. After high school, he attended one semester of college at Odessa College and worked at National Tank. His mother had moved to San Francisco, California and Rex moved to live with her and he completed another semester at Kentfield Junior College. In the summer of 1966, Rex returned to Odessa and resided with Margaret for a short time and joined the Army September 15, 1966 using Margaret's address as his home or record.
On Leave With His Mother in California-1967
He completed basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas and then infantry training at Fort Lewis, Washington. He was then assigned to the 25th Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. He departed for Vietnam on October 20, 1967. He was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th infantry of the 25th Infantry Division (Bobcats). He earned his first purple heart from a scrapnel wound on December 7, 1967 and then again in February 1968 during the TET Offensive, also earning a Bronze Star with "V" device.
Rex at Tans Knut Air Force Base providing security During TET Offensive-February 1968
Specialist 4 Rex Young In Vietnam
Sgt Rex Young with Captured Weapons and Standing Down in Base Camp
Sergeant First Class Marion Lange and Rex-Both KIA at Ben Cui Plantation
On August 21, 1968, his company was assigned to perform a search and destroy mission inside the Ben Cui rubber plantation. Around 11 A.M. the company had entered an area of rubber trees and fanned out moving forward. When they came to a small roadway, an acting platoon leader was sent forward to survey the area across into another series of rubber trees. When the leader entered this area, he was shot to death. Immediately, the company became involved in a fierce fight with a regimental-sized force of NVA. Young assumed command of the first platoon. During an ordered withdrawal, Rex was providing covering fire when he saw an element of the point squad was pinned down. Running toward their position, he received critical head wounds, yet continued his mission. Remaining with the squad as it fought its way out, Young was seriously wounded in the arm and leg. Young refused assistance as he remained behind to give covering fire until the enemy engulfed his position.
FROM THE AFTER ACTION REPORT OF 1/5TH MECHANIZED INFANTRY FOR AUGUST 21, 1968
Sergeant Marvin R. Young:
On August 21, 1968 Charlie Company of the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry was conducting a sweep in the Ben Cui Rubber Plantation. At 1100 hours the company came under heavy small arms, automatic weapons, RPG and mortar attack from an estimated North Vietnamese Regiment. On Initial contact the acting platoon leader was shot and killed. Sergeant Young then took charge and started directing our fire and deploying us into better positions. At this time the rest of the company started pulling back but our communications had been knocked out and we had no way to know they were pulling back to regroup. Sergeant Young finally found out the company had pulled back and so he ordered us to do the same. He stayed to provide fire while we withdrew until he thought we were all back. Then he noticed six men still fighting on the right front flank. With complete disregard for his own safety he ran to their location. On the way he was shot through the side of his face completely losing one eye. He kept on to their position and he laid down a base of fire as they all withdrew. When they got back a ways, Sergeant Young was unable to move too good with the one eye gone. He dropped behind and one man of his squad helped him. As they started back again, a group of North Vietnamese came up from behind and shot Sergeant Young again in the upper arm and he went down. The man helping him stayed to hold off the enemy. Another North Vietnamese sprayed the area again and hit Sergeant Young in the leg. The fire also wounded the other man in the foot. Sergeant Young sized up the situation and knowing he couldn’t get out, ordered the man with him to leave and try to save himself. The man protested and stayed a few minutes more. Sergeant Young could tell the enemy would over run them in a matter of minutes and he once again ordered his helper to leave. He told him he had done a good job, but it was time to go and that he knew he couldn’t make it. Sergeant Young gave his life in the cause of freedom, and helped the men he had worked with.”
CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR CITATION
Rank and organization:
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 1st Battalion, (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.
Place and date:
Near Ben Cui, Republic of Vietnam, 21 August 1968
Entered service at:
11 May 1947, Alpine, Tx.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Young distinguished himself at the cost of his life while serving as a squad leader with Company C. While conducting a reconnaissance mission in the vicinity of Ben Cui, Company C was suddenly engaged by an estimated regimental-size force of the North Vietnamese Army. During the initial volley of fire the point element of the 1st Platoon was pinned down, sustaining several casualties, and the acting platoon leader was killed. S/Sgt. Young unhesitatingly assumed command of the platoon and immediately began to organize and deploy his men into a defensive position in order to repel the attacking force. As a human wave attack advanced on S/Sgt. Young's platoon, he moved from position to position, encouraging and directing fire on the hostile insurgents while exposing himself to the hail of enemy bullets. After receiving orders to withdraw to a better defensive position, he remained behind to provide covering fire for the withdrawal. Observing that a small element of the point squad was unable to extract itself from its position, and completely disregarding his personal safety, S/Sgt. Young began moving toward their position, firing as he maneuvered. When halfway to their position he sustained a critical head injury, yet he continued his mission and ordered the element to withdraw. Remaining with the squad as it fought its way to the rear, he was twice seriously wounded in the arm and leg. Although his leg was badly shattered, S/Sgt. Young refused assistance that would have slowed the retreat of his comrades, and he ordered them to continue their withdrawal while he provided protective covering fire. With indomitable courage and heroic self_sacrifice, he continued his self-assigned mission until the enemy force engulfed his position. By his gallantry at the cost of his life are in the highest traditions of the military service, S/Sgt. Young has reflected great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
Sergeant Marvin Rex Young was posthumously promoted to Staff Sergeant. He was buried with full military honors in the Garden of Prayer at Sunset Memorial Garden's Cemetery in Odessa, Texas. Near him lies many other Odessan's who perished in the Vietnam War. He was survived by his mother, Marilyn Young of San Francisco and his father, Roy and step mother Rita of Anchorage, Alaska. He was also survived by his older brother, Charles of McKinney and his sister Margaret Davis of Odessa and his brother, Jens and two sisters, Tammy and Carol of Anchorage, Alaska.
His sister, Margaret Lorraine Davis passed away on January 1, 2001 and now rests next to him. His brother, Charles Ray is also deceased and is buried at the Restland Cemetery in Dallas. His father passed away in 2003 and is buried in the Florida National Cemetery. His beloved mother passed away August 31, 2008 and is also buried at the Restland Cemetery in Dallas, near Charles and next to her second husband. His step mother, sisters Tammie Denise Brashears and Carol Anne Dawson and brother Jens live in Florida. Fifty feet north from Rex's final resting place and one row west rests another Congressional Medal of Honor winner, Alfred Mac Wilson.
In November 2007, the East Side Post Office located in the 4100 block of E. 52nd Street in Odessa was officially named the Staff Sergeant Marvin Rex Young Post Office. Other honors, VFW Post 4395 in Pasadena, Texas is named in Rex's honor. There is also street named for Rex at Fort Hood, Texas.
Wilson and Young Medal of Honor Middle School, formerly Hood Junior High School.
On August 20, 2015, Hood Junior High School in Odessa was renamed the Wilson and Young Medal of Honor Middle School in honor of Marvin Rex Young and Alfred Mac Wilson. About 1,000 were attendance.
In March 2013 in conjunction with the National Medal of Honor Day, Sunset Memorial Garden's Cemetery began to fly the Medal of Honor Flag over the final resting place of SSG Marvin Rex Young and Corporal Alfred Mac Wilson.