Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipients to be honored by Texas Congressmen

Abbie Bennett
October 15, 2019 - 2:33 pm

Photo by Airman 1st Class Charles Welty

Marine Corps Private First Class Alfred “Mac” Wilson threw himself on top of a grenade. Army Staff Sgt. Marvin “Rex” Young braved enemy fire to rescue his fellow soldiers. Both were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for their sacrifice during the Vietnam War.

Now a Congressman from Texas plans to honor them further.

H.R. 2334, introduced by Rep, Michael Conaway, R-Texas, would name the VA community-based outpatient clinic in Odessa, Texas the “Wilson and Young Medal of Honor VA Clinic.”

Wilson was 21 when his platoon was ambushed and he threw himself on an enemy hand grenade to protect his fellow marines. Young was also 21 when his platoon came under heavy fire, their leader was killed and he assumed command, saving the platoon and rescuing men who were pinned down, sustaining fatal wounds in the process.

"This bill is supported by the entire Texas delegation," House Veterans Affairs Committee ranking member and Vietnam veteran Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., said. "We stand here in this great country free because of what these men did." 

Conaway said every Memorial Day, he thinks of the friend he lost. 

"I had the privilege of going to high school with Rex ... (we) played on the football team together ... he was a really great baseball player," Conaway said on the House floor, tears in his voice. "Medal of Honor recipients are really rare ... to have two of them come from a west Texas town is a great honor. They've earned this recognition and our deep, lasting gratitude."

A school in Texas is already named for the pair who are both buried in Odessa. 

The House passed the bill via voice vote on Tuesday.  

A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Senators Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and John Cornyn, R-Texas. 

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Reach Abbie Bennett: or @AbbieRBennett.