BG Young Biography

BG Young

Brigadier General Charles Young (1864–1922) was a distinguished United States Army officer, cartographer, teacher, and soldier-diplomat. BG Young overcame stifling inequality to become a leading figure in the years after the Civil War, when the United States emerged as a world power. His work ethic, professionalism, academic leadership, and devotion to duty serve as an inspiration for the security cooperation workforce of the future. 

After graduating from West Point in 1889, Lieutenant Young served with the 9th U.S. Cavalry on the Western frontier. In 1894 he was assigned by the War Department to teach military science and tactics at Wilberforce University in Ohio. Young commanded the 9th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on the home front during the Spanish-American War in 1898 and served in the Philippine Islands during the Philippine War as a captain and troop commander. While serving at the Presidio of San Francisco, Captain Young was appointed the first Black national park superintendent at Sequoia National Park in 1903. He was subsequently appointed as military attaché to Haiti and the Dominican Republic in 1904. In addition to gathering intelligence and drafting maps, Young reported to the War Department on Haitian society and government. Young’s experiences in foreign service and as a commander in the Philippines formed the basis of his book, The Military Morale of Nations and Races (1911). 

From 1912 to 1916, the newly promoted Major Young served as the military attaché to Liberia, helping to train the Liberian Frontier Force to ensure the continued sovereignty of that country. This was probably the first provision of military assistance to a partner nation, which would have been known today as a military assistance advisory group. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1916 when serving as a squadron commander in the 10th Cavalry Regiment, one of the original “Buffalo Soldier” regiments. Young then established an officer training school for African American soldiers at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. 

In 1917, Young was medically retired as a colonel, out of fear of an African American officer leading white troops during World War I. Young was recalled in 1920 to serve as a military attaché to Liberia for a second time. His service record was distinct and historic during a time of segregation. Colonel Young died and was buried in Lagos, Nigeria, on January 8, 1922, and was reinterred at Arlington National Cemetery in 1923. On November 1, 2021, Charles Young was honorably and posthumously promoted to brigadier general. 

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