William Heaton Young – Colonel, United States Army

Courtesy of his classmates

United States Military Academy, Class of 1946

15738 Young, William Heaton

September 21, 1924 – July 13, 1994
Died 13 July 1994 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, aged 69 years.
Interment: Arlington National Cemetery


Bill was born in Chiefland, Florida, on 21 September 1924. His father was a doctor and his mother a school teacher. He attended school in Chiefland through the tenth grade and then entered Riverside Military Academy, Gainesville, Georgia.  At Riverside, he was active in sports and all school activities, but he excelled in matters military. Bill entered the University of Florida at Gainesville after graduating from Riverside.

In April of 1943, he enlisted in the Army and completed basic training at Camp Croft, South Carolina, before receiving word that he had gained his appointment to West Point. Bill joined the Class of 1946 on 1 July 1943.

Cadet life was relatively uneventful for Bill. His experience at Riverside Military Academy and his basic training on active duty served him well, and he had no problems with academics. He graduated a second lieutenant in the Infantry.

Bill married Blanche Dolansky at West Point right after graduation. Following basic schooling and airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia, Bill was assigned to the
26th Infantry in Germany. This was followed by tours at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and in Korea, with student stints at the Infantry School and the Command and General Staff College sandwiched in.

In 1955, Bill was assigned to the staff and faculty, the Armor School, Fort Knox, Kentucky, after which he was selected to attend the University of Michigan. He received his master's degree in mechanical engineering in 1959 before reporting to the Office of the Chief, Research and Development, in the Pentagon and then on to Special Forces.  At 1st Special Forces Group in Okinawa, Bill trained and deployed detachments for Vietnam.

After the Army War College, Bill went to Vietnam in 1965 as a sector advisor and then up to MACV. Again back to the States to OCRD and again back to Vietnam with the Agency for International Development. Bill's Vietnam to R&D pattern continued, only this time he went to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, DDR&E.

Bill and Blanche separated in 1968 and divorced in 1974.

Again, in 1970, Bill returned to Vietnam as Chief, Territorial Forces Division, I Corps, CORDS.

Back to the States in 1971, Bill was assigned to the Army Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Command, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland.

He and Patricia (Pat) R. O'Connell were married at Aberdeen in July 1974. Bill retired as a Colonel in 1976.

After retirement, Bill worked for two years as a professional search personnel consultant. His main interest, however, was in enhancing his knowledge of computer programming, which he did by enrolling in courses at a local college.

Bill had his first bout with cancer in 1980. In the meantime, Bill and Pat moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Bill's cancer worsened, and finally, he died 13 July 1994. He is survived by his wife, Pat; three sons, William, David and Craig; his mother; a sister, Daphine; six grandchildren, Diane, William, David, Michelle, and twins, Benjamin abd Margaret; and a nephew, William.

From the time his classmates met Bill Young in Beast Barracks, until the end of his life, he always looked and acted like a soldier. That is how he wanted to be remembered, as a soldier. He was proud of his West Point heritage. Duty, Honor, Country were not just words to Bill. He believed in them and lived by them every day of his life. Never outgoing or gregarious, Bill was always the same, steady, honorable, trustworthy, and dependable.

Classmate, Jack McWhorter, recalled: “Bill and I were stationed in Washington at the same time on two occasions but never in the same outfit. We used to meet in the halls of the Pentagon and stop for coffee and a chance to catch up. Bill was just the same as when we were cadets together in B-2 Company. He was serious about his profession and proud to be an Army officer. He always wanted to do the absolute best job he could and wanted more and more challenging assignments. He was especially proud to have become a member of Army Special Forces and of his service with the 1st Special Forces Group. My only regret is that I didn't get a chance to see more of Bill. He was a great guy.”

His wife Pat said, “Bill was uncompromising in his beliefs of right and wrong and held himself and others to the highest standards. While, at times, this may have made his life (and others' lives) difficult, from my association with his men (Bill and I first met in Vietnam) and associates, I think he always was respected, trusted and, in the end, loved and honored. His word really was his bond. I think he would be proud to be acknowledged as a true leader.”

The Class of 1946 is proud to join Bill Young's family and friends in proclaiming, “Well Done, Bill; Be Thou At Peace!”

1946 Memorial Article Project and his wife, Pat

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