Young, who was speaker at Thursday's Marietta Kiwanis Club meeting, recounted the story for those in attendance.
He and his unit of Army Apache Longbow helicopters were taking part in a night attack on Iraqi military installations and were under heavy anti-aircraft fire. The chief warrant officer was part of the second wave of choppers and could listen in on the radio traffic between the unit commander and his underlings.
"He was yelling at people for not passing him information fast enough," he said. "And I remember thinking, 'Wow, people are cussing on the radio! We don't that during training.' You could hear the excitement in their voices."
He soon saw red flashes coming up from the ground and told his copilot, "I think they're shooting at us."
A wall of AA-fire suddenly opened up in front of them.
"I'm yelling 'MAN, DON'T FLY THROUGH THAT! And he said, 'NO, I'M NOT!"
"I'm going through a religious experience. I could feel my stomach drop into my shoes and I turned pale white and everything happening at once."
They avoided the fire and he focused on a target and pulled the trigger - but nothing happened. He tried again. Still nothing. The chopper's weapons system had already been shot out.
They flew that way for another 20 minutes or so.
"There were a lot of guys a lot further north than we were, and we still had a perfectly good aircraft, so if they were shot down, we could come in and get them," he said.
"Well, as time went on it became apparent the Iraqis could see us really well because there was a full moon and they were shooting at us," he said.
"I was yelling to go faster and faster, and as we're flying, my eye caught sight of a set of tracers out of the corner of my eye, and then they disappeared into the back of the aircraft. Then it shuddered and yawed and slowed down, and I started yelling, 'DON'T SLOW DOWN! DON'T SLOW DOWN! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?'"
He answered that they'd lost an engine.
"And then I heard Dave scream from the back seat, "AW, THEY GOT ME IN THE FOOT!" and smoke starts filling the cockpit, and at that point I pretty much knew we were going down.," he said.
The chopper hit the ground hard.
"I was out of the aircraft like a cat, the fastest I had ever gotten out," he said. "The Iraqis were still shooting in our general direction from the tree line. I grabbed Dave and we took off running but after about 10 yards he stops and says, 'I can't, I can't, my foot, my foot.
"I ran back over to him and I grabbed him by his survival vest and picked him up right in my face and started shouting "YOU GOTTA RUN, MAN!" I was trying to instill the fear of God into him."
The two ran to a nearby ditch, where Young pulled out a flashlight to examine Dave's foot. His boot had been shot wide open, but his sock, foot and toes were all intact, just a bit burned.
"We knew that the Iraqis were looking for us and we had to keep moving," he said.
They swam across an irrigation ditch and got out just in time to see another U.S. chopper shot down nearby.
"I turned just in time to see one of our helicopters with a ball of fire coming out the back of it, then it hit the ground and exploded in front of us. And I'm not going to lie to you: that shook me. That shook me harder than anything I've ever seen in my entire life. I knew everyone that I flew with. I knew them real well for three years. And at that point you realize how fragile life was and how close Dave and I were to losing our lives if we didn't make the right decisions," he said.
After spending nearly two hours swimming in an irrigation ditch, and slowly getting hypothermic in the March chill, they exited and were soon spotted. Even though they were armed with pistols, they knew it was pointless to resist.
"If I shot at them, there was no doubt in my mind how that was going to turn out. And I felt like if we tried to run they'd shoot us in the back. So I figured the only option for trying to live through this scenario was to give ourselves up," he said.
They did, and he was hit in the back of the head with a rifle butt. The captors held a knife to Dave's throat, threatening to behead him. They were taken to a prison in Baghdad for interrogation, stripped naked and held in a cell that was frequently hosed down to make them even colder, he said.
They were moved from jail to jail as the Iraqis retreated, and were eventually freed, by which time he had lost 25 pounds.
The Army wanted to fly him back to U.S. lines aboard a helicopter.
"I said, 'No thank you, I want a tank this time.'"
Bill Kinney is Associate Editorial for the Marietta Daily Journal.