Captain Cassin Young
Destroyers in the U.S. Navy are generally named for Navy and Marine Corps personnel who have distinguished themselves in the service of their country. USS Cassin Young bears the name of a navy commander awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Commander Young was in command of the repair ship USS Vestal which was moored alongside battleship USS Arizona. When USS Arizona blew up, he was blown overboard along with many members of his crew. With USS Vestal taking on water from several hits and set afire from the blazing inferno that had been USS Arizona, the remaining crew began to abandon ship.
Just as the first of the crew began to flee "a figure, like some sea creature, rose from the water and stood athwart the gangway. It was Ted Young... 'Where the hell do you think you're going?' he asked the first sailor. 'We're abandoning ship,' the sailor replied. 'Get back aboard,' Young roared, 'You don't abandon ship on me!'" Commander Young got the fires under control, picked up survivors from USS Arizona and managed to move USS Vestal across the harbor where he beached her for later salvage.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Cassin Young was promoted to captain and given command of the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco. On the night of November 12-13, 1942, during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Captain Young died amidst an avalanche of shellfire from three Japanese warships. For his conspicuous gallantry in the face of the enemy, he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. USS Cassin Young (DD793) was commissioned in 1943, honoring this gallant officer.
Did You Know?
When the Boston Massacre monument was erected on Boston Common in the 1880s, the president of The Massachusetts Historical Society protested, "The crown of the martyr should not be placed on the brow of the ruffian." Come to think of it, John Adams didn't speak too highly of the victims either.