The Loss of a Legend

Medal of Honor recipient, U.S. Marine, and former deputy commandant for the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Col. Wesley L. Fox died Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, in Blacksburg, Virginia. He was 86.

Fox grew up in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and enlisted with the U.S. Marines in 1950 at the start of the Korean War. Months later, he was deployed to Korea as a rifleman and began a 43-year career in the military. He spent the first 16 years as a noncommissioned officer, and in addition to his combat assignments, he worked as a drill instructor, a recruiter, and a military police officer. In 1966, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant.

On Feb. 22, 1969, while serving as the commanding officer of Company A, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division in A Shau Valley, Vietnam, Fox’s unit was attacked. Despite injury, Fox led his men as they advanced through heavy fire. They eventually forced the North Vietnamese troops to retreat. Wounded again in a final assault, Fox continued to refuse medical attention and instead ensured that other wounded Marines were tended to and evacuated.

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42 thoughts on “The Loss of a Legend”

  1. When he gets to heaven, to St. Peter he will tell: “Another Marine reporting, Sir, I’ve spent my time in hell!” – Unknown RIP

  2. I met Col Fox when I was stationed at the clinic on Quantico. He was a great man and a very tough Marine. RIP Colonel. Semper Fi

  3. Semper Fi!!! What courage and strength!! I’m honored to live in the Land of the Free because if SUCH Brave!! Stand down Solider, this tour is done!!

      1. K.T., that’s EXACTLY what I was going to post, Brother. (ALL Marines know this so it makes me wonder if the Poster was a Marine and, if not, he shouldn’t be saying “Semper Fi.” That saying is for Marines only, IMO.

        1. SSgt Howerton, I agree with you about the use of Semper Fi, but its very common for civilians to use that greeting with Marines. I just don’t like it, but there’s nothing we can do about it.

  4. He was my senior drill instructor in Plt 162 in San Diego in 1957. The effects of what he taught me remains with me today. An outstanding Marine, an outstanding man. Semper Fi, my all time hero.

  5. Semper Fidelis to the Colonel who now is commanding the troops in the hereafter. All honor to you.

  6. Capt Wes Fox was a tactics instructor at The Basic School in the fall of 1971. We mourned the recent passing of Chesty Puller then, but men like Wes Fox certainly measured up to Puller’s standards. Wes wore the old herringbone utilities, and must have still been changing two or three times a day in garrison, as his starched trousers were always creased to a knife edge. As I recall, he was one of those ‘warrior monks,’ unmarried. All of the lieutenants were somewhat in awe of him. Men like Puller and Fox made me very proud to be a Marine and a fellow Virginian. He was a man of few words, but when he spoke you could hear a pin drop. God rest his immortal soul.

    1. Colonel Harleman, I just wanted to say that besides Col Fox the State of Virginia sure has produced so many great American military men, including Lee, Patton ( VMI), Sam Houston, Stonewall Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart, etc. that it is truly amazing.

  7. It is always a loss for us but a gain for Heaven knowing that a fellow Marine will be there Guarding the Gates if the Lord see fit for me to arrive when it is my time. Semper Fi – Colonel – RIP

  8. Col Fox was one hard Marine. I am proud to have served with him. My condolences to his wife and daughters. Semper Fi Marine

  9. Sir, You will be sorely missed by all who had the honor to meet with you at the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, Atlantic City Gala’s and other MCLEF functions. God keep you in his hands & Semper Fidelis

  10. Having attended DI school in San Diego with then SSGT Fox I remember him well. We have lost another outstanding Marine to God. carry on Sir.

  11. I HAVE AN AUTOGRAPHED & PERSONALIZED COPY OF HIS BOOK. NEVER KNEW HIM PERSONALLY, BUT EVERYTHING I HAVE HEARD FROM THOSE WHO SERVED WITH HIM, NEVER HAD ANYTHING NEGATIVE TO SAY. WHEN I READ THIS MORNING OF HIS PASSING, I STOOD @ ATTENTION & SALUTED HIS IMAGE DISPLAYED ON MY MONITOR SCREEN. SEMPER FIDELIS, OOORAH, & REST EASY, COLONEL FOX. “FROM THE HALLS OF MONTEZUMA…….”

  12. Corporal Flowers,D USMC 0311 -1970/1973. I served with Alpha Company 1st Bn 9th Marines 3rd Marine Division. Colonel Fox RIP he led by example .Espirit De Corps ! Semper Fidelis✝️

  13. Never served with him, but as the saying goes. “those who have shed blood with me shall forever be my brothers” RIP sir. SEMPER FI. Vietnam 1970-71. 1StRadBn .

  14. I served with this Marine on several occasions my last duty with the Col. was with 3rd Recon Bn. Ona Point, Okinawa in the 70 he had been reverted to GySgt. This was never a set back for him, a true hero and a true Marine. God bless him …..

  15. Met the Colonel when he was the CO at OCS, early 80’s and again while I was serving as a docent at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. A great man and a Marine ‘s Marine. One of our greatest warriors.

  16. ITS SO SAD WHEN WE LOSE A GOOD MAN AND BEING A MARINE MEAN MORE TO ALL MARINES SEMPE FI I WAS IN THE MARINES IN 1954 TILL 1957 1477678 DUTY WAS AT QUIANTO VA

  17. Huge loss not only for we Marines who appreciate our leaders and predecessors but also a HUGE loss for our Country. Of course most civilians won’t know who he was and sadly, many don’t care. As former Marine, and more importantly an American, I do care and mourn for his family and friends and for America. My dad enlisted in the Army in 1941 as a Pvt. He was also a Maverick who rose to LtCol and A/C Commander in B-52s before being killed during Vietnam while on Active Duty in the Air Force. So I realize the hard work Col Fox put in to rise to his rank. Semper Fi, Sir and see you at the Pearly Gates (if St. Peter lets me in, of course).

    1. SSgt Howerton, Semper Fi to you and your father. But you are never a former Marine. you are still a Marine awaiting further orders.

      1. Oohrah and you’re right, Gunny. I just always try to remember to never say, “Ex-Marine” like civilians say.

  18. My book, Marines, Medals and Vietnam, includes the story of Col. Fox and The Marines of A/1/9 and their actions on the day he earned the Medal of Honor.

  19. I meet Col Fox at a 1st Marine Division Reunion some years ago. I had of course knew of him and read his book. He was a great man and Marine. Semper Fi brother.

  20. I am very honored to say , I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with this outstanding, Marine, and Gentleman. On a couple of occasions. A true hero of mine. As a founding member of, Run to the Wall, Ride for freedom. Col Fox , was always scheduled to be somewhere else during our Memorial day service. So he would tell me, do us proud. I had hoped one day event’s would allow him to be our guest speaker. But his tour has ended here. Semper Fi sir. We will honor this hero in May of 2018 before heading to the Vietnam memorial.

  21. Had the honor of serving under GySgt Wesley at NAS Jax in 1964. Truly, a Marine’s Marine. RIP and Semper Fi.

  22. I knew the Colonel when he was making liaison visits and coordinating with his command. He visited the Marine Corps Representative Office at the U. S. Army Infantry School Ft Benning GA where I was the NCOIC. Semper Fi Sir. A truly remarkable Marine.

  23. I served under Wesley Fox’s command, Alpha 1/9, A-Co, 3rd Platoon during Operation Dewey Canyon, 1969 when he was considered for the MOH award for the battle on 22 February. We met once again sometime early 90’s when the MOH recipients were holding one of their events here in Phoenix AZ. Much more valuable now is the picture I have with him and I shacking hands that day while he wearing his MOH decoration. He also wrote and signed a brief personal statement in my book that reveals much on ‘Op Dewey Canyon’, which was published as ‘Don’t Tell America’, and as I understand is a now a collectors item. As always, I will remain proud to have served under a honorable, recognized Marine leader and hero. Semper Fi

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