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Subject: Captain Elmo W. Young, Jr.


Author:
Bill Bellinger
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Date Posted: 10:57:37 06/21/06 Wed

Captain Elmo W. Young, Jr.

Captain Elmo Young was a great guy and an excellent company commander. He arrived in Qui Nhon in about November of 1967. It was monsoon season and pouring down rain. We received a call from 5th Maintenance Bn. HQ that he had arrived and for us to send a vehicle to pick him up. HQ was located in Qui Nhon near the airbase at that time. We were co-located with the Main Support Company (I believe it had a numerical designation at that time.) in Phu Tai Valley. I went to pick him up in a ¾ ton truck because of the rain to keep dry and the high vehicle clearance. The roads were flooded. On the way back to Phu Tai, I could tell that Captain Young’s reaction to the trip out to Phu Tai was similar to my first trip out 6 months before. He asked me if it was safe (There was little or no traffic on the road because of the weather.) I told him something like “Yeah, pretty much, the VC don’t like the rain any more than we do.” When we went through the little village of Phu Tanh, the road (Rte. 1) was completely flooded. He asked me how I knew where the road was. I said, “Well I just kinda aim for the middle and hope for the best.” I had driven that road many times so I knew where it was! The entrance to the company compound was completely flooded when we got back. On another occasion, I missed that entrance and drove into a flooded ditch.

Captain Young was the second CO for the 85th Maintenance Company. The company was activated ‘in-country’. 1st Lieutenant Douglas Crawford was our first. Doug was a reserve, 2 year obv officer and Captain Young was RA. So there was a definite difference in the leadership style. Captain Young was all business during duty hours, but he was easy to get along with. He provided a very good buffer between the company and HQ. This became very important after we moved to Da Nang.

In Da Nang the officers lived downtown in MACV quarters. We ‘car-pooled’ to work in East Da Nang every morning. We were supposed to be at our post by 7 am, not coming in the gate at 7. Sometimes we were a little late. The Da Nang Sub-Area Support Command (DSASC) had an Infantry LTC for an executive officer. This guy would stand at the front door of HQ and take notes of who was coming in and when. If we arrived a little late the company would get a call and Captain Young would have to go up to HQ and explain why we were late, just like when you were late for school. Later, all the officers were ordered to move on to the DSASC compound. I was very short, so I did not move.

Right before I came home Captain Young decided to change the combination on the company safe. Quite a few people had the combination and he wanted to limit access. I had set the original combination so he asked me to change it. He also asked if I would remember it after I set it. I said no I’ll probably forget it. He said good, go ahead and change it. I did. A couple days later he came to me and asked if I remembered the combination. I said no, I didn’t. He told me he lost the combination and couldn’t remember it either. I said I’d look at it and maybe it would come to me. I did and it did. I still have that knack. I have combination locks that I could not tell you the combination of for the life of me. But, I can look at the lock and it will come to me.

I learned not too long ago from Bob Westerhof, that Captain Young passed away a few years ago. He was a resident of Denver, Colorado.

Bill

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