Col Wesley L. Fox
Died: November 24, 2017
FRA Member 68, Col. Fox died the evening of November 24th in Blacksburg, VA. He was 86.
Below is an email from a friend of Col. Fox that includes some links to sites that detail Col. Fox's amazing career.
I recently received word from a mutual friend and fellow Recon Marine, LTCOL Vic Taylor (himself a hero of Dai Do), that one of our great Marine heroes, the legendary Colonel Wesley Lee Fox, passed away on 25 November, 2017.
COL Fox was one of my icons as a Marine, as he was to many others. I often describe him as "the Marine we all wanted to be.” To me, he was the epitome of what a Marine should be, and I tried (though not always with success) to model myself on him and the other fine Marine officers and NCOs I had the good fortune to serve with at 3rd Recon, such as COL Harper Bohr, Jay Vargas, Vic Taylor, and others throughout my service.
I first met COL Fox when he was a captain assigned as both the S-2 and S-3 officer at 3rd Recon Bn., then at Camp Onna Point in Okinawa when I was there in the mid 1970s. He was later my reporting senior when I became Commander of the Guard before my return to CONUS.
An outstanding Marine officer, he taught us many things about being a better Marine, and also taught me sport parachuting. (COL Fox was a master jumper in both the civilian and military realms.)
He was one of the legends of the Corps, and had a long career starting in Korea, holding every rank between PVT and COL except SGTMAJ and WO. Among his many medals, ribbons, and awards, he received the MOH in Vietnam. (We actually had two MOH recipients at 3rd Recon during my time -- the other was our BN XO, Major [later Colonel] Jay Vargas.)
However, COL Fox would have been an impressive Marine and officer without any of his medals. He had all the essential leadership traits and characteristics, and charisma in spades, but he constantly led the very best way, by personal example -- and I can state with authority based on close personal observation that while he set a high bar for all of us, he set a still higher one for himself.
COL Fox also had an interesting education path. He once told me that he had dropped out of school after the 8th grade, originally intending to be a farmer, but during his Marine career, he got his GED and eventually earned two college degrees by dint of hard work and study.
After his retirement from the Corps, COL Fox spent 8 more years in uniform teaching the Corps of Cadets at Virginia Tech, retiring as the deputy Commandant of Cadets.
He was both a great man and a great Marine. His loss is also great, both to the Corps and the nation, at a time when we desperately need men of honor and integrity. But his memory will live on in the hearts of all of us who were privileged to know him.
Here are some other sites which feature details of COL Fox's remarkable career.
COL Fox wrote a memoir of his service called Marine Rifleman: Forty-three Years in the Corps, available from Amazon and other bookstores. It is well worth a read.
He also wrote two other excellent books, Courage and Fear: A Primer, and Six Essential Elements of Leadership, also available from Amazon and other booksellers.
Many of COL Fox's life lessons detailed in these books can also be applied to other professions. Good leadership is (sadly) a commodity in very short supply in today's world.
I am awaiting details re: funeral arrangements, but will post the information when I find out, for any who might wish to send condolences.
F. J. Taylor
Stars & Stripes