Over these past several weeks we have lost several very popular figures, like David Cassidy (one of the Partridge Family for those youngsters out there) and recently, Rance Howard, father of Ron and Clint Howard, and an actor in his own right (see “Apollo 13,” “A Beautiful Mind” and so on).

However, we have lost some Medal of Honor awardees this year as well, though they are far less celebrated in the media—just recently we lost a true American hero. A hero that many have never heard of: Colonel Wesley L. Fox, United States Marine Corps. Colonel Fox, a Congressional Medal of Honor awardee and all-around American badass, died on November 25, 2017. For those of us who never had the pleasure of knowing him, this article represents our memorial to his legacy.

Born on a Virginia farm during the Great Depression, Wesley Fox was one of 10 children. After the Korean War broke out, Wesley grabbed his chance for glory and enlisted in the Marines at age 19. In a 2017 interview, Colonel Wesley spoke about his reason for joining:

When the Korean War started, I saw it as a chance to catch up to my cousin Norman, who’d jumped into Italy and Normandy in WWII. I knew I wanted to be a paratrooper or a Marine. A friend who’d been in the Army said: ‘You wouldn’t be happy in the Army. You’re the Marine type.'”

So it was on that fateful day when it was raining on the farm, Fox and his friend drove to Washington to speak with a recruiter.

“I told the Marine recruiter I was trying to decide between the Marines and the Airborne. He said, ‘Hell boy, what’s wrong with the Paramarines?'” What Fox didn’t know was that the Paramarines had disbanded during WWII in 1944. “If I’d seen an Army recruiter first, who knows? But that lying Marine got to me first,” he said.

That was August of 1950, and by the new year he was at war in Korea. By that September, Wesley was wounded twice and back stateside at Bethesda Naval Hospital. It was during his recovery that he made his decisions about his career in the Marines. He was practically begging to get back in the fight, but the Marines had other plans.

Courtesy of Wikimedia

For the next ten years, Fox was a recruiter, a drill instructor, a member of 1st Force Recon and did a tour in Okinawa with the Pathfinders. When the Vietnam conflict began, Fox was assigned as a USMC security and honor guard platoon sergeant despite his desire to go to war, but his time would come.