Saturday, November 7, 2009

Colonel Richard Young (1916-2009) - Aide to General Stilwell

• Palo Alto Resident Was WWII Aide to Gen. Stilwell in China and Burma
• Friend of Mme. Soong Ching-ling
• Brought American Businesses to China After Re-Opening

Col. (retired) Richard (Ming Tong) Young, aide-de-camp to U.S. Army’s General Joseph “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell, supreme commander of allied forces in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War II, died at his home in Palo Alto October 26 at age 92. Young participated in the allies’ historic 300-mile march out of Burma in 1942 and later that country’s recapture in 1944. One of his most long-lasting and important relationships was with Soong Ching-ling, widow of China’s democratic leader Sun Yat-sen.

Young was born in the Hawaii Territory to working-class Chinese parents on Dec. 1, 1916, won a scholarship to the prestigious Punahou School in Honolulu and later earned an engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines. His first job in China was the construction of a steel mill in Anning, Yunnan province that is still in operation. After World War II, Young worked as an engineer and executive with the Defense Department, Lockheed-Martin Co. and the Postal Service. From 1979-1992, Young joined ESPDC/Unison as vice president and oversaw the construction of the Great Wall Hotel (now the Great Wall Sheraton), the first large international-class joint venture hotel built in the P.R.C. He served as the hotel’s Vice Chairman of the Board while working on other Unison projects.