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Marion Young

 

Date and Place of Birth: September 28, 1922 Madison, WI
Date and Place of Death:    December 13, 1944 off Negros Island, The Philippines
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Infield
Rank: Private First Class
Military Unit: Marine Detachment, USS Nashville, US Marine Corps
Area Served: Pacific Theater of Operations

Marion P. "Spud" Young, the son of Conrad and Mildred Young, was an infielder from Madison, Wisconsin, who signed with the Concord Weavers of the North Carolina State League in 1941. After just a couple of appearances with the team, he joined the Paducah Indians of the Class D Kitty League, and appeared in 29 games for the last-place club, playing third base and batting .250. However, his season was cut short when he was hit above the ear with a pitch which gave him a severe skull fracture. He was hospitalized for seven weeks.

In 1942, Young joined the Springfield Rifles of the Class A Eastern League, but was optioned to their Class C Canadian-American League affiliate, the Utica Braves, at the start of the season. Alongside future major leaguers Reggie Ortero and Jorge Comellas, Young played every game of the regular season for the Braves, and batted .242 with 59 RBIs as the team finished in third place. In a game against Pittsfield on June 28, he handled a league record 16 chances with seven putouts and nine assists. On July 6, Young was the starting shortstop for the Northern squad in the Canadian-American league all-star game. He rejoined Springfield at the end of the season and appeared in 12 games, batting .125.

Young joined the Marine Corps on December 14, 1942, and served as part of the Marine Corps detachment aboard the light cruiser USS Nashville (CL-43) in the Pacific. In September 1944, the Nashville carried General MacArthur and his staff to the invasion of Morotai, Dutch East Indies. She also carried MacArthur on his return to the Philippines, then provided fire support for the Leyte Island landings in October.

On December 12, 1944, the Nashville set sail for Mindoro Island on the west coast of the Philippines. There were many operational Japanese airfields located on Mindanao, Negros and other small islands flanking the route and most of the Marines were stationed midship on the boat deck manning the anti-aircraft guns. On the morning of December 13 - one day shy of Private First Class Young being in the service two years - a Japanese kamikaze plane appeared from nowhere and crashed into the Nashville's port-side fiveinch gun mount on the main deck. Both bombs carried by the plane exploded and fire raged in the mid-section of the ship.

Murlin Spencer, an Associated Press war correspondent, was aboard the Nashville when it was hit. "A shattering explosion staggers the cruiser Nashville," he wrote, "as though it had been hit with a giant hammer and flames leap skyward, trailing a dense cloud of black smoke. For a second there is complete silence, and then the first cries of the wounded break the stillness. Out of the smoke and flame a man comes running, shock and terror showing in his eyes. A sailor grabs him, throws him to the deck and beats the flames from his shirt and dungarees. The terror subsides and the man lies quiet." [1]

Marion Young was among the 133 men that were killed that day. A further 190 were wounded. The damaged cruiser limped to safety and was operational by April 1945.

Young was originally buried at USAF Cemetery Leyte #1, in the Philippine Islands. In late 1948, his remains were returned to the United States and now rest at Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines, Iowa.

Year

Team

League

Class

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

AVG

1941 Concord N. Carolina State D - - - - - - - - -
1941 Paducah
Kitty D 29 96 14 24 4 0 0 16 .250
1942 Utica Canadian-American C 120 418 61 101 18 9 4 59 .242
1942 Springfield
Eastern A 12 32 4 4 0 0 1 3 .125

 

USS Nashville

The light cruiser USS Nashville (CL-43)

Marion P. Young

The grave of Marion Young at Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines, Iowa

Notes
1. Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, June 21, 1945
Utica Daily Press, May 26, 1942
Utica Daily Press, July 3, 1942
Oswego Palladium-Times, July 7, 1942
Rome Daily Sentinel, January 12, 1945
Utica Observer-Dispatch, January 25, 1949

Date Added May 31, 2012 Updated July 21, 2016

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