MOH Recipient Marine Corps Col. Wesley Fox Dies at 86
Medal of Honor Recipient Marine Corps Col Wesley Fox passed into eternity on November 24 at the age of 86 in Blacksburg, VA. He spent 43 years in the Marine Corps, becoming a “mustang” – an officer who came up through the ranks from private to colonel. He did not retire until the mandatory retirement age of 62.
Vietnam, Quang Tri Province
On February 22, 1969, 1st Lieutenent Wesley Fox was conferring with his platoon leaders in the A Shau Valley of Vietnam when they were attacked. All of the members of the command group were wounded except his Executive Officer, including Fox. He kept going, even refusing medical attention.
In the midst of the fighting, it fell to him to motivate his men. Note: they were significantly outnumbered. When his EO was mortally wounded, he “reorganized” the company and pressed ahead against all odds.
“I had the opportunity to look ‘em in the eyeballs and say, ‘This is what we do…’ Why did my Marines go forward? Cause they knew that’s what I wanted of ‘em. They knew we were moving to the sounds of the enemy’s guns, and until somebody told ‘em something clearly, differently, a Marine isn’t going to lose his focus. I had some great Marines.” Col Wesley Fox
Even after he was wounded again, he still refused medical treatment and postioned his troops as well as supervised preparation of the medically wounded for evacuation.
“The Commander stands for the virtue of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage and strictness.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Col Fox was from Herndon, Virginia, and entered the Corps in Leesburg. President Richard Nixon presented the Medal of Honor to him and 6 others on March 2, 1971.
Col. Fox’s Medal of Honor 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.