ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- Highway 80, or Old Business Interstate 20, in Odessa, will soon have a new name, thanks to one legislator who wanted to honor two Odessans for their sacrifice. Beginning in September, drivers will see new signage, designating that stretch of road, between Loop 338 and the county line, as Wilson and Young Medal of Honor Highway.
“The idea is to honor two of Odessa’s proudest native sons. Wilson and Young are two medal of honor recipients who are both awarded the medal of honor by President Richard Nixon after both of these men who grew up here in Odessa made the ultimate sacrifice for our country during the Vietnam war,” said Representative Brooks Landgraf, who authored the bill in honor of Mac Wilson and Rex Young.
Both men are buried a few yards away from each other in Odessa’s Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery, located along the portion of Business I-20 that would be named in their memory.
Private First Class Wilson, a graduate of Permian High School, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic leadership on the battlefield and for unhesitatingly deciding to jump on an enemy grenade, absorbing the force of the explosion with his body to protect his fellow Marines.
Staff Sergeant Rex Young, a graduate of Odessa High School, was 21 years old when several members of his platoon were killed after intense enemy fire. Young assumed command and directed his platoon to withdraw to get to a better defensive position all while exposing himself to enemy fire. Young bravely fired at the overwhelming enemy force, protecting the soldiers in his platoon until his position was engulfed by the enemy.