RIP Col. Wesley L. Fox, MOH from Vietnam

 
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RIP Col. Wesley L. Fox, MOH from Vietnam

From Stripes:

Marine Corps Col. Wesley Fox, who received the Medal of Honor for successfully leading his company through an enemy attack during the Vietnam War and retired decades later at the mandatory age of 62, died the evening of Nov. 24 in Blacksburg, Va. He was 86.  […]

Fox served as a young corporal in Korea and later, as a first lieutenant, led a company in Vietnam that would suffer 75 percent casualties during a three-month operation. The unit, Company A, 9th Marines, was among the troops fighting in Operation Dewey Canyon, the last major Marine offensive during the Vietnam War.

The company came under intense gunfire from the North Vietnamese on Feb. 22, 1969, which Fox remembered as a foggy, rainy day in the jungle of the northern A Shau Valley. Realizing they wouldn’t be able to move the injured men and retreat, Fox led an assault against the larger enemy force. Though Fox was wounded, he refused medical attention and successfully directed the responding attack, coordinated air support, and then supervised the medical evacuation of injured and dead Marines.

The Medal of Honor Book has an excellent video on Fox’s 43 years in service:

His citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as commanding officer of Company A, in action against the enemy in the northern A Shau Valley. Capt. (then 1st Lt.) Fox's company came under intense fire from a large well concealed enemy force. Capt. Fox maneuvered to a position from which he could assess the situation and confer with his platoon leaders. As they departed to execute the plan he had devised, the enemy attacked and Capt. Fox was wounded along with all of the other members of the command group, except the executive officer. Capt. Fox continued to direct the activity of his company. Advancing through heavy enemy fire, he personally neutralized 1 enemy position and calmly ordered an assault against the hostile emplacements. He then moved through the hazardous area coordinating aircraft support with the activities of his men. When his executive officer was mortally wounded, Capt. Fox reorganized the company and directed the fire of his men as they hurled grenades against the enemy and drove the hostile forces into retreat. Wounded again in the final assault, Capt. Fox refused medical attention, established a defensive posture, and supervised the preparation of casualties for medical evacuation. His indomitable courage, inspiring initiative, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger inspired his marines to such aggressive action that they overcame all enemy resistance and destroyed a large bunker complex. Capt. Fox's heroic actions reflect great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps, and uphold the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Wikipedia talks about his service and what came next:

Fox retired from the Marine Corps as a full colonel in September 1993 at the mandatory age of 62. He held every enlisted rank except Sergeant Major and every officer rank except General. He continued to wear the uniform for eight more years as a deputy commandant of cadets for the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. During his time at Virginia Tech, Fox spoke of his experiences to America's next generation of military officers, business executives, and civic leaders.

One of those men he would train in the Corps of Cadets would be my battle buddy and best friend in Afghanistan, who facebook’d me the other day with the sad news of his death.

Rest in Peace Colonel, you’ve earned it and left behind a legacy of cadets at Virginia Tech and Marines you served with who will continue to carry the fight to the enemy.

Posted in the burner | 3 comments
 
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Comments

Let me say that even though I am Army and not a Marine, I deeply regret the passing of such a brave and devoted Man . What ever branch served, all vets are considered my brothers and sisters in my heart. Especially those that served in Vietnam as he did. To my Marine Cousins I say well done and in your tradition, Semper Fi .

A true hero. rip.

I had the privilege of knowing Col Fox when we were both serving on Okinawa circa 1964. We were both in the same SCUBA school in the Phillipines. He was assigned to the 3rd Force Recon and I was assigned to the 3rd Recon Bn commanded bt LtCOl W.H. Barber a MOH recipient from the Korean war.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.