Subase Pearl Harbor Det 716 


Born in Minneapolis on May 29 1927 Vernon Young begin his journey which would later lead him to Hawaii in the middle of WW II.

Two years after his birth the world became chaotic with the stock market crash and beginning of the Great Depression in 1929 which continued into the early ‘40’s?Vernon.jpg 

He was raised by his mother Muriel and father Vernon Sr. with his two brothers until their divorce when he was five. The courts, unlike today’s courts decided the children should live with a mother and father and the children were removed and placed in foster homes.Vernonlived in foster homes until he was twelve. He was then returned to his father’s home who had remarried.

Photo of Vern at age 83 taken shortly after interview at
Perkins Restaurant in Bloomington, MN on 1 Sept 2010.

On December 7th 1941 the United States entered into war with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Vern was fourteen at the time. He finished the 10th grade in school at seventeen and tried to join the Army where he was rejected because of a missing finger which he had lost in an accident in woodshop class while attending High School. He then decided to join the Navy and with his father’s signature was accepted.

In June of 1944 Vernon left his home and was off to Great Lakes for 10 weeks of Navy Boot Camp.

He was assigned to a black company in boot camp as segregation was still in practice in the military back then.

After graduation he was sent to aNavySchoolinTennesseewhere he became an Aviation Machinist Mate (AD)

I asked Vern how he was treated by his white shipmates, which I was told he had no problems with his shipmates but while riding a civilian bus in Tennessee he was informed it would be smart to get to the rear of the bus as some red necks were boarding. He said they got on at the front of the bus and he got off at the rear. He may have not understood the local rules but was smart enough to find an alternative remedy.

After completing Aviation Machinist schoolVernonreceived orders to report to U. S. Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay, later to become U. S. Marine Corps Air Station on theislandofOahuin theHawaiian Islandswhere he worked in his rate as Aviation Machinist Mate.

The war ended in the fall of 1945 and he was honorably discharged after fulfilling his contract in June of 1946. 

He wanted to go home but had no home to go to as his dad had pulled up stakes and moved toCalifornia. Not wishing to live there he returned to his hometown ofMinneapolis. He decided he would go visit his grandma who worked in one of the hospitals in the area. He asked the receptionist to see her giving her his grandma’s name and was asked if he knew her. He said “yes she’s my grandma” which opened up a can of worms as his grandma had mixed blood and was white completed. The hospital was before this unaware of the fact that she was a black woman. 

Later Vern decided to take advantage of his GI Bill by going to college. He first attendedHuronCollegeinSouth Dakotaand took drafting. He later attended theUniversityofMinnesotawhere he majored in engineering. 

After college he was employed by Honeywell where he worked for 38 years before retiring….well sort of anyway. He then took a job driving a bus for Special Ed students with a company called Septran where he continued to work until this year (2010).

So after 83 years of living Vern finally decided to hang it all up….well almost! Vern wouldn’t be happy with setting around on a park bench and watching the pigeons. He still keeps himself busy by working in his woodworking shop where he takes pride in crafting beautiful pieces of art. He builds baby cribs, toy boxes, children’s learning toys and you name it for others and don’t charge a dime for his work. He simply loves working in his shop. He doesn’t work from prints either. He finds the item he wishes to build that someone has already made and takes measurements and records this data and goes home and goes to work. I have seen pictures of his workmanship and they are all crafted with skill and care. 

When asked if he planned to be buried in the National Cemetery when his time came he said he really didn’t care as he wouldn’t be around anyway.



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