New American Legion Post name reflects sacrifices of four men
ORFORDVILLE—Those who knew Glen H. Young remember him as the man who was always there to help.
His bravery came as no surprise when he died in South Vietnam fighting the enemy with disregard for his own life.
The farm boy from Brodhead lost his life Oct. 28, 1966, when an enemy grenade exploded in his machine gun nest.
“I don't think his dad ever quite recovered from it,” Jerry Hoppe, Glen's brother-in-law, recalls.
The Kenneth S. Wells American Legion Post 209, Orfordville, wants to assure that Young and three other men who gave their lives in battle will not be forgotten.
On Memorial Day, the post is getting a new name to reflect the ultimate sacrifices of Young, Wells, Frederick C. Davis and Benjamin H. Neal. Each was the first from the Orfordville area to die in a war.
The post is named after Wells, a World War I veteran. The new name is Wells-Davis-Young-Neal Post 209 of the American Legion.
“By choosing these four individuals, we hope it will remind the community of everyone who served and who didn't come back,” said Karl Stuvengen, post parliamentarian. “We felt this was an opportunity to memorialize them and to keep their names in the community.”
The Young family is “prouder than hell that part of the name will be Young,” Hoppe said.
Young entered the Army a year after graduating from Parkview High School in 1964. He carried ammunition and other supplies to his comrades while under intense enemy fire. The young soldier earned a Bronze Star for Heroism, and he is buried in Avon Cemetery. His name is engraved on the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The post provided information about the other men:
-- Wells was the first from Orfordville to enlist in the Army during World War I. He was severely wounded the night of July 18, 1918, in France and died two days later. The division commander cited Wells for “conspicuous gallantry” in action during the capture of Cantigny in May 1918. The citation is equal to today's Silver Star.
-- Davis graduated from Beloit Memorial High School in 1932 and the University of Wisconsin in 1936. He was assigned to an operation squadron aboard the USS Nevada at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Davis joined the men of the Nevada as they tried to battle attacking Japanese planes. He rushed to the foremast to take charge of an anti-aircraft machine gun battery and was killed by a bomb explosion.
Davis received the Navy Cross, the nation's second-highest award for bravery. His body was returned after World War II for burial in Plymouth Cemetery.
-- Neal grew up on the family farm in rural Orfordville and graduated from Parkview High School in 2009. He entered the U.S. Army, graduated from airborne school and was assigned to the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Neal completed his first tour of Afghanistan in 2010. Two years later, he was deployed again to Kandahar Province. He died when enemy forces attacked his unit with improvised explosive devices April 25, 2012.
“Ben was a true paratrooper in every sense of the word,” said Lt. Col. Ced Carrington, 1st Battalion commander, in a statement after his death. “His loss will be sorely felt by his fellow paratroopers and the entire 1st Battalion family.”
A convoy accompanied Neal's body from the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport to Orfordville, where more than 500 residents, family and friends came to honor him. He was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, Evansville.
Neal was awarded the NATO medal, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal.
“He lost his life fighting for what he believed in and alongside his buddies,” Command Sgt. Maj. Francis Debois said when remembering Neal. “He is a true professional.”
Anna Marie Lux is a columnist for The Gazette. Her columns run Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call her with ideas or comments at 608-755-8264, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.