Vernon W. Young

  • Second Lieutenant
  • WW II


Vernon Whiting Young was born in Plainville, Massachusetts on 11 August 1912. He was the only child of Leslie and Albertiene Young. He was a 1934 graduate of Plainville High School, Plainville, Massachusetts where he was an outstanding student and athlete. Vernon entered Rhode Island State College (RISC) in September 1934 with the class of 1937, majoring in Science. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, member of the Aggie Club and participated in intramural sports. He participated in the Army ROTC program for two years.

Vernon enlisted in the U.S. Army on 20 March 1941. He completed Infantry Officer Candidate School, Fort Benning, Georgia and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry upon graduation. 2Lt. Young landed in North Africa with the 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division as part of the Western Task Force on 8 November 1942. In July 1943, they landed in Sicily. By 17 September 1943, they were headed for Italy and crossed the recently won Salerno beachhead. Three days later, elements of the 7th Infantry Regiment met German troops south of Acerno. The fighting against the powerful, stubborn German forces in the rugged mountains was severe.

It was in the mountain approaches to Cassino that the regiment met its toughest opposition and displayed its greatest offensive power. Allied and German casualties were high. Every foot of the way was heavily mined. The Germans continued counter-attacks and Allied troops continued to push towards Cassino. Sadly, on 8 October 1943, 2Lt. Vernon Young was killed in action (KIA). He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He was buried with full military honors in the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Italy. A grave stone in his memory stands in the Plainville Cemetery, Plainville, Massachusetts.

Second Lieutenant Vernon Whiting Young was a son of Rhode Island State College who answered the call to service during World War II and gave his life in service to Rhode Island and America. He was a member of the “Greatest Generation.”