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Bridge to honor Vietnam soldier
county names bridge.jpg
Young

Warren County commissioners have approved naming a bridge in memory of a fallen Vietnam War solider. 

The county Highway and Bridge Committee unanimously approved a request to name a bridge on New Nashville Highway after Thomas “Tommy” Dudley Young in June. The full Warren County Commission unanimously agreed to the name of Thomas D. Young Memorial Bridge during its recent session. 

According to his brother, Michael Young, Tommy reported for duty on April 30, 1969 at Fort Campbell, Ky. With only eight months remaining of a two-year tour, Tommy received orders to report to Vietnam as a crew chief on a helicopter. A chew chief is charged with the responsibility of making sure the helicopter is flight-ready and acts as a backup door gunner if the primary door gunner is injured or killed.

Tommy arrived on Sept. 31, 1970 and was assigned to the famed 101st Airborne Division. The Screaming Eagles were based at Camp Eagle located just a few miles from the demilitarized zone in the Quang Tri Province.

“He was very proud of being assigned to such a famous unit as the 101st, which gained their fame during World War II in Europe,” said Michael. “Tommy always said they had the coolest looking arm patch, which depicted the Screaming Eagle. Helicopters were primarily used for reconnaissance missions and transporting troops into and out of front-line offenses. During the brief time Tommy was in Vietnam, he flew over 36 of these dangerous missions.”

On Tommy’s final flight, the helicopter encountered 51-caliber anti-aircraft fire and was struck in numerous places. The incident caused the onboard cargo to become unstrapped. The shifting load caused the helicopter to become unstable. When Tommy left his seat to strap the cargo down, he was struck by one 51-caliber round and died instantly.

Buried at Gardens of Memory Cemetery, he was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters, the Purple Heart, and numerous other awards.

The bridge being named after Young is located just prior to the Warren/ Cannon County line.