Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Death of Capt. Cassin Young

Cmdr. Cassin Young commanded my father's ship, the USS Vestal, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. For his actions that day he was awarded the Medal of Honor. He also was promoted to Captain in February 1942, and soon was given command of the heavy cruiser, USS San Francisco. Young commanded San Francisco in the Battle of Cape Esperance and the subsequent Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on this date in 1942, with great distinction. During the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Young guided his ship into action against a superior Japanese force. Sadly, while closely engaging the enemy battleship Hiei, a direct hit to the San Francisco's navigation bridge killed Young, Rear Adm. Daniel Judson Callaghan, and almost all of the officers there on today's date in 1942. Captain Young was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during the campaign, and San Francisco received the Presidential Unit Citation.

Dad remembered Commander Young as a personable man who earned his respect and that of the entire crew. He always spoke highly of Young over the years after the war. Since his personal gear onboard the Vestal was stowed near the captain’s deck, Dad said that he saw and saluted Cmdr. Young often.

Capt. Cassin Young receives his Medal of Honor from
Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, while commanding the USS Vestal
April 1942
Source: NavSource

Captain Young's name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial (Fort William McKinley Cemetery) in Manila, Philippines. The cemetery contains a total of 17, 201 graves, the largest number of graves of our military dead of World War II.

Sources: Frank L. Dolan's personal account; NavSource; Find A Grave

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