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First Name: Edward

Last Name: Cox

Birthplace: Jeanette, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Jan

Date of Birth: 14 December 1930

Date of Death: 20 January 1966

Rank: Sergeant First Class

Years Served:
Edward Jan Cox

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Edward Jan Cox
Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army
Vietnam War

Edward Jan Cox was born on 14 December 1930 in Jeanette, PA, and left Penn Township High School in 1949 to join the U.S. Army.

Military Career

Ed Cox met Margaret L. Wagner while stationed in Germany around 1949. She was a divorcee with a son, George Kuerner, after WWII and worked for the U.S. Army. Ed and Margaret were married in Heidelberg, Germany. George lived with his grandmother in Marburg, while Ed and his mother lived wherever Ed was stationed. In the early 1950's, the Cox family went to live in Bussac, France. From there they moved to Bad Tolz, Germany where, around 1954, Ed Cox earned his Green Beret with the 10th Special Forces. From there they moved to the U.S. where Ed served as a Nike Missile System Specialist at a Nike Ajax anti-missile battery assigned to protect the greater Pittsburgh area. The family lived in Jeannette, PA, the city of Ed's birth. The family later returned to Germany and Ed was stationed at Aschaffenburg with the 3rd Infantry Division. In 1961, they moved to Mt Holly, NJ, where Ed served as a recruiter for the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Dix, NJ. His home of record is Mount Holly, NJ.

As a career veteran, Ed Cox was stationed all over the world. Some of his assignments were long in duration, including American Samoa, and Fort Benning, GA (as an Airborne Infantry Instructor). He served shorter posts in Bordeaux, France; Marburg and Aschaffenburg, Germany; Vienna, Austria; and throughout Europe, New Jersey, and finally, in Vietnam.

In 1965, Staff Sergeant Ed Cox went to Vietnam aboard the ship General LeRoy Eltinge (AP-154). The ship was in such bad condition that one paratrooper wondered aloud what battle General Eltinge had lost to have such a sorry ship named after him.


Ed's tour in Vietnam began on 8 July 1965. Eight months later, on 24 January 1966, SSG Edward Cox was serving as a platoon sergeant with A Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 101st Airborne Division, in Tuy Hoa Province, South Vietnam. Cox's unit was part of Operation Van Buren (18 January-20 February 1966) near Tuy Hoa. His company was briefed that elements of the 95th People's Army of Vietnam Regiment, the 3rd Viet Cong Regiment and local Viet Cong companies were known to be operating north and west of Tuy Hoa. The major friendly units in the area were the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, a Republic of Korea Brigade, and the 47th ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) Regiment. The 48th U.S. Army Aviation Company provided air support and mobility. U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers were also engaged in missions nearby.

The 101st had been tasked to assist in protecting the harvest of a rice crop. The enemy was moving in the area and attempting to gather part of the crops for their own sustenance. Cox's unit was moving across open, dried paddies that had recently been harvested and only stubble remained. Crossing in small groups, and individually, Cox's platoon made its way across a paddy towards a cluster of trees and foliage. As the point man and two others neared the far side of the paddy, hidden PAVN troops opened up on the platoon's lead element with automatic and carbine fire. Two of these lead troops were hit in the legs and fell in completely exposed positions. The platoon immediately directed counter-fire towards the enemy position. Momentarily the counter fire suppressed the ambushing fire.

SSG Cox left his position of cover and ran to one of the downed individuals and lifted him to his feet and ran with him back to a covered position. He turned and fired at the enemy with his M-16. The remaining, still exposed, individual came under fire. Cox once again left his position and began to run towards the wounded soldier. A few yards from his position he was hit in the upper chest area just below his fatigue lapels by two rounds of automatic weapons fire. Cox was mortally wounded by these hits. By now, his platoon had flanked the ambush position and their concentrated weapons fire silenced the three well-concealed PAVN troops. This action occurred early in the day and the 101st continued to encounter and engage many enemy positions in the area.

SSG Cox's body was recovered. He was awarded a posthumous promotion to Sergeant First Class.

At the time of his death, Cox was the father of eight children; two girls and six boys.

Badges and Medals

Silver Star Medal *

Combat Infantryman Badge

Purple Heart (2 Awards)

Army Commendation Medal

Army Good Conduct Medal (7 Awards)

Army of Occupation Medal

National Defense Service Medal

Vietnam Service Medal

Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm (Individual Medal)

Vietnam Campaign Medal

Master Parachutist Badge

* On 25 June 1966, during the weekly Saturday morning review parade at Fort Dix, NJ, a Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action was awarded posthumously to Army Sergeant First Class Edward J. Cox of Mount Holly, NJ. He was cited for "unimpeachable valor in close combat, exemplifying the highest ideals of the Army." The medal was presented to his wife, Margaret Lee Cox, 36, of Mount Holly.


The name Edward J Cox is inscribed on Panel 04E Line 084 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

Cox was awarded numerous awards and appointments. Some of these include: the General Patton Award for Excellence, Airborne Jumpmaster, 1st Army Rifle Team Instructor and Special Forces Member.

He was a distinguished member of the 1st U.S. Army Rifle Team; an expert Marksman and weapons instructor. He was a Distinguished Graduate of the 7th Army's NCO Academy. An expert marksman with the M1, M14, and the new M16 rifle, he was awarded trophies for inter-service matches. They are still on display at the Marksmanship Museum in Fort Dix, NJ.


The body of SFC Edward Jan Cox was returned to the U.S. and buried with full military honors on a frozen winter's day in Beverly National Cemetery, Beverly NJ. He rests there now under a large maple, which has grown to shade his grave.


An insight about his father was provided by son Edward. "My father was a happy man who always seemed self-assured and smiling. Even when being the disciplinarian he would smile. Lined up in a bathroom for a whipping he would instead get us out to the car and tell mom we were going to the woods so she wouldn't hear our crying and screams. Ten minutes later we would find ourselves eating ice cream cones at a shop. That was my Dad."

Bio information sources: Edward Cox (son), George Kuerner (stepson) and New Jersey VVMF. Bio compiled by Charles A. Lewis.

Honoree ID: 869   Created by: MHOH




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