AUSTIN — Legislation filed by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) to designate a portion of Business Interstate 20-E in Ector County as the Mac Wilson and Rex Young Medal of Honor Highway passed out of the Texas House of Representatives on Friday.
House Bill 2083 would designate the stretch of Business I-20/Highway 80 in Ector County between Loop 338 and the county line as the “Wilson & Young Medal of Honor Highway.” Landgraf filed the bill at the urging of local veterans who want to recognize these incredible local heroes, who were both posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for their gallantry and valor in Vietnam by President Richard Nixon. 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 Odessa 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 Permian 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.
“Designating this portion of highway is another small way we can honor these two heroes for the unimaginable sacrifices they made in battle,” Landgraf said. “I know of no other community this size that produced two Medal of Honor recipients in the same war, but this community has. It’s another reason I’m proud to be an Odessan, and it certainly motivates me to work hard with local veterans to help memorialize the sacrifice of Mac Wilson and Rex Young.”
HB 2083 now advances to the Texas Senate for consideration. Provided it receives approval by the full Senate, the bill will be sent to Governor Abbott’s desk to be signed into law.