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Wesley L. Fox: A "true Marine's Marine"


This past Friday, our nation lost a remarkable hero. On November 24, 2017, retired Marine Corps Col. Wesley Lee Fox passed away at the age of 86. Throughout his military career, Fox devoted himself completely to the Marines and served in the Corps for 43 years. He served with distinction in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. On March 2, 1971, Fox was awarded the United States military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Vietnam War. His memory and devotion to the United States of America will never be forgotten.

Fox speaking to students at Gettysburg Area Middle School in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on September 20, 2013. (Photo: stripes.com)

The Marine Corps called Fox a “legend” and a “true Marine’s Marine.” Those words could not be more fitting for the man who worked his way up through every enlisted rank from private to colonel. Quite simply, Fox lived to be a Marine, once saying, “To tell you how proud I am to wear the Marine uniform, my first four years as a Marine I didn't own one stitch of civilian clothes - everything I did was in a Marine uniform.” He added, “I’d go home on leave, working in the hay fields or whatever, I wore my Marine utilities. Go in town to see the movies, I wore Marine dress.” From 1950 to 1993, Fox wore the uniform that he loved until retiring at the mandatory age of 62.

Fox shaking hands with Connor Stotts after presenting him with the Citizen Honors award during a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Medal of Honor Day, March 25, 2014. (Photo: stripes.com)

The Medal of Honor also meant a great deal to Fox. He was “proud to wear it for the Marine Corps,” and for what his men did during a heated firefight in the jungle of the northern A Shau Valley on February 22, 1969. On that foggy, rainy day, Fox’s company was up against a larger enemy force. Although he was wounded himself, Fox refused medical attention and directed the responding attack, coordinated air support, and supervised the evacuation of friendly casualties. Fox acted along with the brave Marines by his side. He later stated, “Why did my Marines go forward? Cause they knew that's what I wanted of ‘em.” Through his courage and daring initiative, Fox “inspired his Marines to such aggressive action that they overcame all enemy resistance and destroyed a large bunker complex.” Two years after the perilous engagement, Fox was presented the Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House by President Richard Nixon for his valor.

In the video above, Fox discusses the circumstances behind the intense firefight that he was involved in during the Vietnam War. (YouTube Video Credit: MedalOfHonorBook)

He was a Marine through and through. His commitment to duty, honor, and country never wavered. Wesley Lee Fox will always be remembered as a true American hero.

Sources

pbs.org: American Valor - Stories of Valor - Wesley Fox.

stripes.com: Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient Wesley Fox dies at 86.

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