Waddy Young
Date of birth: September 14, 1916
Place of birth: Ponca City, Oklahoma, United States
Date of death: January 9, 1945(1945-01-09) (aged 28)
Place of death: Tokyo, Japan
Career information
Position(s): End
College: Oklahoma
NFL Draft: 1939 / Round: 3 / Pick: 20
 As player:
1939-1940 Brooklyn Dodgers
Career highlights and awards
Honors: College Football HOF
1938 All-American
Playing stats at
College Football Hall of Fame
Military service
Allegiance: United States United States
Service/branch: United States Army seal U.S. Army Air Corps
Years of service: 1942-1945
Rank: 20px Captain
Unit: 21st Bomber Command, 73rd Bomb Wing, 497th Bombardment Group, 869th Bombardment Squadron
Battles/wars: World War II: European Theatre, Pacific Theatre
Awards: Bronze Oak Lef Cluster
Air Medal

Walter Roland Young (September 14, 1916 – January 9, 1945) was a professional football player who later served in World War II.

Football and warEdit

Young was the first consenus All-American football player out of the University of Oklahoma. He led the team to its first conference championship ever as well as its first bowl berth ever, in the 1939 Orange Bowl. He also starred as a heavyweight wrestler for the Sooners. After college he played professionally for the Brooklyn Dodgers of the National Football League, where he played in the league's first televised game. He voluntarily gave up his NFL career to become a member of the elite flying club who piloted America’s B-17 Flying Fortress bombers over the European Theatre, flying the full schedule of 25 missions against mighty German Luftwaffe. Afterwards he volunteered to go back into combat in the Pacific Theatre against the Empire of Japan, where he was placed in command of an entire squadron of B-29 Super Fortresses. He was killed on January 9, 1945, in a plane crash during the first B-29 raid over Tokyo as he attempted to assist a comrade whose plane had one engine on fire.

Young was inducted posthumously into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986 and named the recipient of the Robert Kalsu Freedom Award, presented by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, in 2007. The University of Oklahoma Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Arnold Air Society squadron and Silver Wings chapter is named in honor of Waddy Young.

Personal lifeEdit

While living in New York City and playing professional football prior to America’s entry into World War II, he met Maggie Moody, a well-known blonde model who attended Oklahoma A&M, and the two fell in love. During halftime of a Brooklyn-New York Giants game in which he was playing, Young had the public address announcer voice his proposal to Maggie, who was sitting in the stands, and the two were later married.


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