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U.S. Marine Corps Colonel (Ret.) Wesley Fox, who received the Medal of Honor in 1971 for actions in Vietnam, will speak as part of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Leadership Lecture Series Wednesday, Feb. 18 at Old Dominion University.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 5-6 p.m. in room 104 of the Batten Arts and Letters Building.

A native of Herndon, Va., Fox received the nation's highest honor from President Richard M. Nixon for his actions in battle in the Quang Tri Province in Vietnam in 1968. During the battle, Fox's company came under intense fire from enemy forces. Despite being wounded, Fox continued to direct the activity of his company and personally neutralized one 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, 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, Fox refused medical attention, established a defensive posture and supervised the preparation of casualties for medical evacuation.

Fox served in the Marine Corps for 43 years, retiring only after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 62. By that time, he had earned the unique distinction of working his way through each and every Marine Corps rank, from private to colonel.

As a young corporal, Fox served in Korea, where he was wounded in action. Over the following 16 years he worked his way through all of the enlisted ranks from the lowest private to first sergeant. While most servicemen would relish the accomplishment of rising through each of the enlisted ranks and choose to sit out a few more years to retirement, Fox used that opportunity to start all over.

From second lieutenant he began working his way up through the ranks of a Marine Corps officer, serving in his second war in Vietnam as a first lieutenant in command of a company in the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines (1/9). The men of 1/9 called themselves the "Walking Dead," a nickname that proved all too realistic during one of the Marine Corps' last major offensives of the Vietnam War. Fox was serving his second tour of duty in his second war when he led the "Walking Dead" of his company during Operation Dewey Canyon.

During the course of the three-month operation, Fox's Alpha Company suffered 75 percent casualties, the company commander among them. Despite his wounds, Fox continued to lead his Marines in battle, subsequently being awarded the nation's highest award for military heroism, the Medal of Honor. His award was presented to him at the White House in 1971 by President Richard M. Nixon. By the time he received the medal, Fox had risen to the rank of captain.

For more information about the lecture call 683-4744.

This article was posted on: February 18, 2004

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