• December 15, 2019

Conaway bill renaming Odessa VA passes Congress - Odessa American: Local News

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Conaway bill renaming Odessa VA passes Congress

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Posted: Friday, November 22, 2019 3:19 pm

The Senate on Thursday passed H.R. 2334 to rename the Odessa VA Clinic to the Wilson and Young Medal of Honor VA Clinic. The bill will now head to the President’s desk for his signature.

The bill, authored by Congressman Mike Conaway, R-Midland, honors two heroes from Odessa — U.S. Marine Corps Private First Class Alfred “Mac” Wilson and U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Marvin Rex Young, who both sacrificed their lives to save their fellow service members in the Vietnam War. Both were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for their heroic actions, a news release said.

Conaway and U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, both R-Texas, introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

While on a reconnaissance mission on August 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. While moving through a hail of enemy bullets, SSG 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.

On March 3, 1969, PFC 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.

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