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House passes Conaway bill renaming Odessa VA clinic after local heroes - Odessa American: News

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House passes Conaway bill renaming Odessa VA clinic after local heroes

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Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 5:32 pm

The U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday unanimously passed H.R. 2334, a bill to designate the Department of Veterans Affairs community-based outpatient clinic in Odessa as the "Wilson and Young Medal of Honor VA Clinic.”

Authored by U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, it honors the lives of two Medal of Honor recipients from Odessa, United States Marine Corps Pvt. First Class Alfred “Mac” Wilson and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Marvin Rex Young. Both were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for their heroic actions during the Vietnam War.

“Mac Wilson and Rex Young displayed unimaginable heroism to defend their fellow servicemembers while protecting our country,” said Conaway said in a news release. “These two men embody the West Texan values of selflessness, courage, and a devotion to one’s country, and their gallant sacrifices serve as a somber reminder of the price of freedom. I am extremely proud to have grown up in the town that raised both of these heroes, and it is my honor to help lead the community’s effort to rename the VA Clinic after Mac and Rex as a small token of appreciation for their incredible service to our country.”

Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, both R-Texas, introduced S. 1635, the companion legislation to H.R. 2334, in May. 

While on a reconnaissance mission on Aug. 21, 1968, SSG Young’s platoon came under intense fire from the North Vietnamese Army, killing the platoon leader. In response, Young instinctively assumed command of the platoon, directing his men into defensive positions to counter the attacking forces, the release said.

While moving through a hail of enemy bullets, Young repeatedly exposed himself to peril for the good of his fellow soldiers. After suffering a critical head wound and additional injuries to his arm and leg, Young refused to receive care that would have slowed his platoon. Instead, he ordered his men to withdraw while he provided cover fire, and was eventually engulfed by the enemy. His actions saved the lives of many men at the cost of his own, the release said.

On March 3, 1969, Wilson’s platoon was ambushed. As squad leader, he set his platoon in a defensive position and began returning fire. When the platoon’s machine gunner and assistant gunner were seriously injured, Wilson and another Marine ran through heavy enemy fire to regain operation of the weapon. As they reached the machine gun, an enemy soldier threw a grenade between Wilson and the Marine. Wilson instinctively threw himself on the grenade, absorbing the explosion with his own body and sacrificing his own life for his friend, the release said.



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