Meet Colonel Charles Young?
Omega Psi Phi is proud to acknowledge and recognize Brother (Colonel) Charles Young. His outstanding military leadership, tenacity of purpose and perserverance have made him a figure to be immortalized in Omega history. Brother Young's demonstrated leadership abilities and mental toughness is certainly a hallmark of success for all to follow and in recognition of his dedicated service, Omega has named an International Award for active duty military excellence in his honor. This award is given at the fraternity's Conclave, conducted every two years.
Colonel Charles Young is remembered and honored as a man of unique courage and inspiration. This was especially true for those of "goodwill", who knew him, and for those who followed him into battle. He stands honored both as an African-American and in the history of African-Americans in the U.S. military.
Young was born March 12, 1864 to Gabriel Young and Arminta Bruen in Helena, KY. Gabriel and his family lived in a small log house on Helena Station Road previously used as slave quarters. The house lay near the small town of May's Lick in southern Mason County, Kentucky.
He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1889. This gave him the honor of being the third African-American to do so, and the first to lead a full career in the us Army. It was 47 years before the US Military Academy at West Point graduated another African American.
His first assignment after graduation was with the Buffalo Soldiers in the 10th Cavalry in Nebraska, and then in the 9th and 10th Cavalries in Utah. With the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, he was reassigned as Second Lieutenant to training duty at Camp Algers, Virginia.
Young was then awarded a commission as a Major in the Ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Later, during the Spanish-American War, he was in command of a squadron of the 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers in Cuba.
After the war with Spain, Young was reassigned to Fort Duchesne in Utah where he successfully arbitrated a dispute between Native Americans and sheep herders. He also met one of the many soldiers who would eventually benefit from his encouragement, Sergeant Major Benjamin O. Davis. Later, Davis would became General Benjamin O. Davis, the first African-American to reach the rank of General in the U.S. army.
Charles Young distinguished himself throughout his military career with the Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalries, and the 25th Infantry. He also served as Professor of Military Science at Wilberforce University, Ohio.
With the creation of the army's Military Information Division (MID), came his assignment as one of the army's first military attachés, in Port Au Prince, Haiti. His job was to observe the training and exercises of foreign armies and make reports on their relative strengths and weaknesses. United States intelligence was desperate for new maps and information about groups struggling for political power in Haiti. Young risked his life to fulfill his assignments, only to have his maps and reports stolen and sold to the Haitian government.
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