Medal of Honor recipient visits
By Cpl. Joshua Bozeman
| | October 10, 2002
MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, GA -- A Medal of Honor recipient spoke to Albany Marines at the Base Theater Tuesday during a Professional Military Education period sponsored by the local chapter of the National Naval Officers Association.
The PME gave Marines here the opportunity to learn about the old Corps and the experiences of a proven leader.
Retired Marine Col. Wesley L. Fox spoke of his 43 years in the military, both as an enlisted Marine and an officer. Of the 58 heroes who received the Medal of Honor in Vietnam, only 13 lived to acknowledge the honor.
Fox said that when he first joined the Marine Corps, his recruiter told him and the others joining with him something that he hasn't forgotten.
Fox would not deserve his paycheck for many of the months ahead, the recruiter told him. But, he may be called upon to fight and accomplish a task for which his country could never repay him.
Since that day, Fox has seen combat many times. Many times he found himself in dire situations and acted in ways that surpassed human capabilities for saying thank you.
He recieved the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military medal, for acts of valor during the Vietnam War in 1969. Fox said he was not at all mistaken about the reason the medal was placed around his neck. He made it clear that he wears the medal to honor those Marines who fought and died along side him and under his command, not for any individual acts he had accomplished.
According to Fox, he had no intentions of being a career Marine when he enlisted, but he kept reenlisting because of the opportunities the Marine Corps offered, adding that he would still be on active duty if not for the mandatory retirement at age 62.
Now Fox takes what he has learned and shares it with new Marines.
One theme the 43-year Marine veteran continued to emphasize was "if you want something, and work hard enough for it, then you will get it." He used his own selection for an officer program after Marine Corps orders said he was too old as a real-life example that he learned from.
Fox also told the Albany Marines about his personal experience with Marine Corps leaders, and what made him follow them.
He gave the example of his old squad leader who always put his men before himself and how that impressed him.
Fox said that in all of his years of experience, the people with whom he served and developed relationships were the best part of his 43 years of service.
When a Marine asked Fox how Marines of today compared to the Marines in his time, Fox replied by saying the Marines of today are just as tough.
Although training methods have changed since he first entered boot camp, he said the Marine spirit is still alive inside everyone who wears the uniform, and that spirit is the element that makes a Marine - not the training.