This guy was 5'2" tall and weighed about 120 pounds. In high school, he suffered an injury in a basketball game that in our world could have been fixed, but in the 1930's, they just told him to deal with it. While taking a jump shot, a defender knocked his legs out from under him. He broke his fall with his head. His vision and hearing began going out after that, getting worse until his death.
As his sight and hearing deteriorated, he decided to drop out of school because he couldn't see or hear the lessons. In 1938, he joined the National Guard, thinking he couldn't pass the physical for the regular Army. In October of 1940, Young's unit was federalized in preparation for the upcoming war. As a corporal, he served as a small arms instructor. After his promotion to sergeant, he was a squad leader. His unit was sent to the Solomon Islands to train for the attack on New Georgia. Just prior to the attack, Young, afraid his hearing and eyesight would interfere with his ability to lead his men in combat, requested that his rank be reduced to private. At first thinking he was a coward, his officers sent him to sick call, where the doctors discovered he was almost completely deaf. The "coward" then begged to be allowed to stay with the unit for the invasion.
On July 31st, 1943, Young earned the Medal of Honor by drawing the enemy fire to himself so his platoon could withdraw.
Medal of Honor citation:
Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division. Place and date: On New Georgia, Solomon Islands, 31 July 1943. Entered service at: Clyde, Ohio. Birth: Tiffin, Ohio. G.O. No.: 3, 6 January 1944. Citation: On 31 July 1943, the infantry company of which Pvt. Young was a member, was ordered to make a limited withdrawal from the battle line in order to adjust the battalion's position for the night. At this time, Pvt. Young's platoon was engaged with the enemy in a dense jungle where observation was very limited. The platoon suddenly was pinned down by intense fire from a Japanese machinegun concealed on higher ground only 75 yards away. The initial burst wounded Pvt. Young. As the platoon started to obey the order to withdraw, Pvt. Young called out that he could see the enemy emplacement, whereupon he started creeping toward it. Another burst from the machinegun wounded him the second time. Despite the wounds, he continued his heroic advance, attracting enemy fire and answering with rifle fire. When he was close enough to his objective, he began throwing handgrenades, and while doing so was hit again and killed. Pvt. Young's bold action in closing with this Japanese pillbox and thus diverting its fire, permitted his platoon to disengage itself, without loss, and was responsible for several enemy casualties.
In 1945, a song was written about Private Young's exploits. Robert A. Heinlein used Young as an inspiration in his book Starship Troopers.