HENRY A. YOUNG, born June 2, 1923, Clifton, NJ. Nicknames: Hank / Moe. Enlisted in USN March 3, 1941, Brooklyn Navy Yard, NY. Boot camp: Naval Training Station, Newport, RI.
Prior to assignment to USS Washington, attended Boatswain's Mate School in Great Lakes, IL. He served in the Deck Division as a coxswain, and manned one of the Quad 40mm anti-aircraft guns during GQ-battle stations. Transferred to the USS HELIOS (ARB 12), a Battle Damage Repair Ship (formerly USS LST-1127), prior to Washington's arrival at the Puget Sound Navy Yard in June 1945.
Medals/awards: American Campaign Medal, American Defense Service Medal (w/ Fleet clasp), Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (w/ 1 silver star), European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (w/ 1 bronze star), and World War II Victory Medal.
On September 3, 1942, on the Washington's initial cruise to the Pacific, he and several hundred lowly 'polywogs' were properly and thoroughly initiated into the secrets of King Neptune's reign. They emerged as tried and true 'Shellbacks', during 'Crossing the Line' ceremonies after crossing the equator, for the first of four times, on the way to Tonga Tabu, in the Friendly Islands. The Washington was the only fast battleship in the South Pacific, and covered the approaches to the Solomon Islands and our famous hold on Guadalcanal.
He was youngest of 6 children, who's mother died when he was 3. He and a younger sister, Teresa, lived for a time in an orphanage during the Depression. His oldest brother, John, received a family deferment during WW II (married with children). His brother, Martin, was discharged from the Army after only 6 months, on a medical deferment. Another brother, Wendel, served in the Army during WW II. His oldest sister, Anne, of Clifton, along with her husband Hugh R. Smith Jr., owned and operated Smith's Homemade Chocolates located on Broadway in Passaic, NJ. Prior to enlisting, Hank lived and worked at a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Camp in Utah, where he displayed his skills in the boxing ring. He also participated in boxing smokers held on board the Washington.
Honorably discharged on October 31, 1945, NTC Lido Beach, Long Island, NY, as a Seaman 1st Class. He served 4 years in the Merchant Marines after WW II and saw many icebergs in the North Atlantic.
He married Clara Filko of Passaic, NJ on October 4, 1952. A lifelong NY Yankees fan, he courted her by taking her on dates to Yankee Stadium in 1951 and 1952, with his buddies, to help teach her about the game of baseball. They watched Joe DiMaggio play the outfield in his final season and Mickey Mantle as a rookie. They moved to Garfield, NJ in June 1959, where his wife, a retired accounting clerk, still lives.
He has two children and three grandchildren. His oldest son, Mark, of Alexandria, VA, a computer systems programmer for Lockheed Martin Corp. in Maryland, is a former Navy Chief Petty Officer, who was inspired to Navy life by his dad's war stories. Hank was his son's Little League baseball coach. He continued coaching and served as secretary-treasurer in the Garfield Little League for many years. Hank's oldest grandson, Mark II (1979), lives in Florida. Hank's daughter, Kathleen Zmuda, a graduate of Seton Hall University, is a nursing supervisor in the Neo-Natal Care Unit at St. Joe's Hospital in Paterson, NJ. She has two children, Alyssa (1990) and Timothy (1991), and lives with her husband David, a paramedic, in Glenwood, NJ.
The onset of Alzheimer's disease forced him to retire in June 1983 from the Bakery & Confectioners Union, having worked for 20 years at S.B. Thomas in Totowa, NJ making Thomas' English Muffins. He is currently a resident of the Veterans Nursing Home in Paramus, NJ, since March 1992.
Note: Hank's nephew, Martin Altis of Pequannock, NJ (youngest son of sister Teresa), an Electrical Engineer & Marty's oldest daughter and Hank's grand niece, Steffanie, a recent college graduate, worked in lower Manhattan when the World Trade Center was bombed on 9/11. They both made it home safely.