Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The NY Times ran the following obituary this morning:
You don't get much more exotic and adventurous than this. Young, the son of missionary parents in Laos, at one point organized his own private army of a few thousand Laotians to fight the North Vietnamese there. He sounds almost like another Captain Kurtz.
Several things jump out about Young's obituary:
After the war, he tried his hand at trading gems, owning a fruit orchard, and running a guesthouse. You have to wonder how much he enjoyed running a guesthouse, which doesn't rank quite as high on the machismo scale as warlord. It's a little like going from being Delta Force operative to being a hairdresser, or from dictator to florist. It's just not a career transition one would expect.
Although, come to think of it, it's hard to imagine any post-warlord job which wouldn't be anticlimactic.
Perhaps his "guesthouse" was actually a cover for some CIA operation. Or perhaps it had a certain ill repute.
The obituary says Young is survived by five children, though there is no mention of any wives.
The obit also says that although he was extremely patriotic, he had a falling out with the CIA. Always nice to see a man who thinks for himself.
I'd never heard of William Young before today. I'll have to add him to my list of heroes posthumously.