Young, Willard B. (805th/1st Grp)

Lt-Young-now-23-years-oldWillard B. Young

Biography:  Willard Barton Young was born on November 7, 1918, in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He was the son of Harold Empey and Josephine Barton Young and he attended West High School and then the University of Utah.  He married Gene Rasmussen in 1952.  She was the daughter of Arthur Freeman and Jenny Peel Rasmussen of Mt. Pleasant, Utah.  The couple had 1 boy and 3 girls.

Service Time:  I have minimal information on Willard’s time in the military but I did find him listed as a Reserve Officer (1st Lieut) of the 41st Field Artillery Battalion at Ft. Lewis, Washington, in October of 1940.  He was later assigned to the 805th Tank Destroyer Battalion and assumed command of HQ Company on May 21, 1943, after heavy losses in Tunisia, North Africa.  At the time, he was still a 1st Lieutanant.  At some point, he was transferred to the 1st Tank Destroyer Group and served with them in Germany where he distinguished himself and received the Bronze Star.  Willard reached the rank of Captain before leaving the service.  

The photo below shows Lt. Col. Allen H. Foreman, Commanding Officer 1st Tank Destroyer Group, presenting the Bronze Star to Capt. Young, at Leipzig, Germany, July 6, 1945.


CITATION – AWARD OF BRONZE STAR MEDAL CAPTAIN WILLARD B YOUNG (then first Lieutenant) 0392866 Field Artillery (TD), Headquarters 1st Tank Destroyer Group, United States Army, for meritorious service in support of active combat operations from 22 March 1945 to 30 April 1945 in Germany. During the rapid advance of the Corps from the Rhine River east to the Elbe River, the Corps Rear Area was habitually extended far beyond normal distances, requiring exceptional demands upon radio personnel and equipment of the Security Command. By intelligent prior planning and employment of men and facilities at his disposal CAPTAIN YOUNG attained the maximum communication possible. His efforts frequently resulted in the establishment of contact with Security Areas under most difficult conditions. This appreciation of a mission to be executed and perseverance in accomplishing same, reflect credit upon the officer and the military service. Entered military service from Utah.

The following two photos show Willard as a 1st Lieutenant on August 14, 1944, and an artist rendition of him as a Captain after receiving his Bronze Star.


The following picture was taken in March of 2003 and shows Willard’s incredible blue eyes.  Willard passed away on June 21, 2003.  I want to thank his daughter, Stephanie, for providing the photos and information about her father.