- April 5, 1924 - November 11, 2016
- San Dimas, California
of Richard's Passing
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Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day, commemorating the World War I surrender at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year. It is fitting that Richard died on Veterans Day, 2016 at age 92.
Richard Young was born in Los Angeles in 1924 ten days before Metro Goldwyn Mayer was founded in Hollywood. The following month J. Edgar Hoover was appointed to head the FBI.
He grew up both in Los Angeles and Murrieta. His mother died when he was seven years. The Pearl Harbor attack occurred when he was 17. Two days after his 19th Birthday, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.
While being processed at Fort MacArthur in Los Angeles he decided to get extra pay by being a paratrooper. He is part of the first group in history who during wartime jumped out of planes into an active combat zone.
He started training at Camp Toccoa, the camp made famous by the Band of Brothers. His unit of assignment, the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team, would distinguish itself in significant manner. During a Physical Fitness Qualification test, already two years into the war and with tens of thousands of young men already tested, his team broke all previous physical fitness qualification records. To this day, the 517th holds a unique distinction. In spite of decades of heroic men achieving airborne rating, the 517th remains the only unit in history completing training at Fort Benning without a single washout.
He fought in five battles. He jumped into France the night of the allied invasion of Southern France. He fought heroically in the Battle of the Bulge, earning the Bronze Star for running into a field of fire to save wounded peers. It was at this time he went 72 hours without sleep in freezing wet weather. His assigned D Company during the battle met and pushed an S.S. Nazi armored division over a river and into retreat.
In the aftermath of Germany's surrender he had the option of remaining in Europe to be in the army of occupation or traveling back to the states, having 30 days of rest, then joining the battle of the Pacific and the planned invasion of mainland Japan. He chose the latter. A few days out of New York the first atomic bomb was dropped; at the time of his entry into New York Harbor steaming past the Statue of liberty the war was over. He was in New York City when Alfred Eisenstaedt took his now famous photograph of a sailor kissing a nurse.
Post-War, Richard attended the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, later transferring to Columbia Bible College in South Carolina. It is there he met his future wife.
Richard returned to Southern California where he would remain. Purchasing a motorcycle at an army salvage auction, he later got a job at Rapid Blueprint Company transporting blueprints on his bike. It was through that work connection that he became aware of then rented the house at '1337' near downtown Los Angeles. It would be that location that he raised his family and his children have most of their memories.
Richard later worked as a security guard, first for Systems Development Corporation in Santa Monica, then with the Los Angeles Times.
Richard leaves his wife, Jean (McGee) Young, three children, Robert (wife Maria Bernadette) David (wife Colleen) and Arlene Miller (husband Pat) seven grandchildren, Francina, Melanie, Paul David, Rebecca, Scott and Mark and eight great-grandchildren.