Ron Young (United States Army officer)
|Ronald D. Young, Jr.|
|Born||1977 (age 36–37)
Villa Rica, Georgia
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1999—2004|
|Rank||Chief Warrant Officer|
|Unit||Aviation Battalion, 1/227th Company C, Fort Hood, Texas|
|Battles/wars||2003 invasion of Iraq|
|Other work||The Amazing Race 7|
Ronald D. Young Jr. (born in 1977) was a former POW in the 2003 Gulf military action against Iraq who later became a contestant in the reality show The Amazing Race 7. Young is also an Eagle Scout.
Young grew up in Lithia Springs, Georgia and lives in Villa Rica, Georgia. He graduated from Douglas County High School in Douglasville, Georgia, studied mechanical engineering at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Georgia, before joining the Army.
Young was among seven POWs who were taken prisoner by Iraqi forces in the 2003 invasion. Back then, he was a Chief Warrant Officer whose Apache Longbow helicopter crashed in Karbala on March 24, 2003. Fellow pilot and Chief Warrant Officer David Williams, 31 from the 1-227 Helicopter Attack Battalion tried to elude capture, but they were taken prisoner by an Iraqi group who took them to Samarra, about 25 miles (40 km) south of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown.
The Iraqi forces kept the two with the members of the 507th Maintenance Company who were earlier captured along with their comrade Jessica Lynch. The 507th POWs included Patrick Miller, Joseph Hudson, Shoshana Johnson, James Riley, and Edgar Hernandez. They were rescued soon after on April 13, 2003.
The Amazing Race 7
Over a year later, he competed in The Amazing Race 7 together with his then girlfriend, beauty queen Kelly McCorkle. Although they were billed as the "Mormon/Former POW/Beauty Queen couple" and his back story about his POW days profiled, Ron, like almost all contestants who competed there (except for well-known Survivor contestants Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich), was identified only by his first name. Their relationship was strained during the race and they broke up after the race but they still have remained friends. They eventually finished third when in San Juan, Puerto Rico "We went to the regional airport instead of the international airport," Young said, going to the wrong airport caused them to miss their flight.
Young became part of an urban legend when a viral email claiming that the Red Lobster in the town Young's unit was based refused to donate money to the Young family. Even though the Army "highly discourages spouses soliciting businesses on behalf of families," and that "no business should feel strong-armed into donating" Red Lobster had actually wanted to give money but had run out of gift certificates.
Young works for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, as a motivational speaker and a cable news special contributor.
- CTV Television Network (2005). "The Amazing Race Season 7". CTV Television Network. Retrieved 2008-05-12. "Name: RON YOUNG Occupation: Motivational Speaker (former Iraq War POW) Age: 27 [Aged 27 in 2005 makes his birth year around 1977] Hometown: Villa Rica, Georgia"
- "National Eagle Scout Association". Retrieved 2009-10-15.
- CNN (Posted: 3:12 PM EDT (1912 GMT) Sunday, April 14, 2003). "POW dad sees son on TV: 'That's him'". Retrieved 2007-02-18.
- Proctor, Maurine (2003). "LDS POW Ronald Young, Jr. Finding Comfort When "Our Worst Fears Are Realized"". Meridian Magazine. Retrieved 2007-02-18.
- Peter Baker, Washington Post (April 14, 2003). "Freedom for 7 American POWs". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2006-12-18.
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution (2005-05-12). "'Race' ends unhappily for ex-POW, girlfriend". Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The. Retrieved 2007-02-18.
- Barbara and David P. Mikkelson, Snopes (April 14, 2003). "Red-Faced Lobster". Retrieved 2007-02-18.