September 14, 1916|
Ponca City, Oklahoma, United States
January 9, 1945 (aged 28)|
Bronze Oak Lef Cluster|
Walter Roland Young (September 14, 1916 – January 9, 1945) was a professional football player who later served in World War II.
Football and warEdit
Young was the first consenus All-American football player out of the University of Oklahoma. He led the team to its first conference championship ever as well as its first bowl birth ever, in the 1939 Orange Bowl. He also starred as a heavyweight wrestler for the Sooners. After college he played professionally for the Brooklyn Dodgers of the National Football League, where he played in the league's first televised game. He voluntarily gave up his NFL career to become a member of the elite flying club who piloted America’s B-17 Flying Fortress bombers over the European Theatre, flying the full schedule of 25 missions against mighty German Luftwaffe. Afterwards he volunteered to go back into combat in the Pacific Theatre against the Empire of Japan, where he was placed in command of an entire squadron of B-29 Super Fortresses. He was killed on January 9, 1945, in a plane crash during the first B-29 raid over Tokyo as he attempted to assist a comrade whose plane had one engine on fire.
Young was inducted posthumously into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986 and named the recipient of the Robert Kalsu Freedom Award, presented by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, in 2007. The University of Oklahoma Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Arnold Air Society squadron and Silver Wings chapter is named in honor of Waddy Young.
While living in New York City and playing professional football prior to America’s entry into World War II, he met Maggie Moody, a well-known blonde model who attended Oklahoma A&M, and thetwo fell in love. During halftime of a Brooklyn-New York Giants game in which he was playing, Young had the public address announcer voice his proposal to Maggie, who was sitting in the stands, and the two were later married.
- Thompson, Jared. "Memorial Day: Remembering Waddy Young". soonersports.com. University of Oklahoma. http://www.soonersports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/052812aaa.html. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
- Tramel, Berry (August 6, 2007). "Young a war hero, kind man. Ex-Sooner, killed near Tokyo in 1945, has been gone 62 years but never forgotten". NewsOK. http://newsok.com/young-a-war-hero-kind-manbrspan-classhl2ex-sooner-killed-near-tokyo-in-1945-has-been-gone-62-years-but-never-forgottenspan/article/3099527#.
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