Wilson & Young Medal of Honor Middle School Formally Dedicated for Odessa Heroes (Dec. 5, 2023)
In August 2015, a new era began for the school located at 601 E. 38th Street in Odessa. A crowd of more than 500 celebrated the lives of two hometown heroes – two men who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in service to their country – with the renaming of their school as Wilson & Young Medal of Honor Middle School.
Alfred Mac Wilson graduated from Odessa High School in 1967; Marvin Rex Young was a member of the Permian High School Class of 1965. Though they did not know each other growing up, both were killed in Vietnam, and both were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the United States’ military’s highest award. Fittingly, a combined color guard of PHS and OHS students presented the colors at the beginning of the ceremony.
Family friend, fellow Vietnam veteran, and one of the ceremony’s organizers Billy Brown told the crowed more about Wilson and Young. Wilson attended Burleson Elementary, Crockett Junior High, and then OHS. Young was born in Alpine and graduated from Permian High School in 1965.
Marine Staff Sergeant Jorge Hernandez read the citation for Alfred Mac Wilson: “Wilson was a Marine rifleman in the first platoon of Company M in the Third Battalion of the Ninth Marines, fighting in Quang Tri Province on March 3, 1969. Returning from a reconnaissance mission the platoon was ambushed; Wilson and another Marine were crossing an area swept by automatic weapons fire in an effort to reach a machine gun when an enemy soldier threw a grenade at them. Wilson shouted to the other Marine and threw himself on the grenade, saving his companion’s life.”
Army Sergeant Ricardo Sanchez read the citation for Marvin Rex Young: “Young was an Army staff sergeant leading a Company C squadron of the First Battalion, Fifth Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, when he died near Ben Cui on August 21, 1968. A large force of the North Vietnamese Army attacked the squad, killing the leader. Young assumed command, directing fire, moving from position to position and exposing himself to enemy fire. He remained behind to provide cover, when he received a critical head injury. He still remained behind, offering cover, and was wounded twice more, including a shot that shattered his leg. He refused assistance and was killed by the advancing Vietnamese.”
The ceremony closed with the crowd joining the choir in singing God Bless America, a 21-gun salute, and the playing of Taps.
Since being built in 1960 the school had been known as John B. Hood Junior High after General John Bell Hood. A committee of community members recommended changing the school’s name to memorialize two of our local war heroes. Now the school has a new name, a new mascot, and new school colors.
Staff members at the school narrowed potential mascots and colors down to 2 choices and students and parents voted – Rangers topped Patriots for the name, to go along with a palate of slate gray/black/gold. The inspiration for Rangers came from the characteristics portrayed in the Army Ranger Creed – move further and faster, give one hundred percent and then some, set the example for others to follow, fight with all my might, and complete the mission – as standards for the faculty and students to follow.