Cox Used to Taking Charge
Tony Cox is used to being in a position of authority.
As a civilian originally from Pinehurst, he held a private sector management position, but it was nothing like his role today.
As a Marine Corps lieutenant, Tony Cox finds himself a platoon commander leading a convoy in a combat zone. Originally a military police officer stationed in Okinawa, Japan, Cox is currently attached to Support Company, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), in Afghanistan. He leads Marines in the construction of road systems that are changing the infrastructure of Afghanistan.
"The locals were very appreciative of what we're doing," Cox said. The roads created by 9th ESB connect rural Afghan farming families to schools, hospitals and commerce.
The progress brought about by established roads poses a threat to insurgents, who, much like organized crime, need to be needed. When Afghans can support their families with legitimate business, terrorist support becomes an unnecessary danger.
Oftentimes Cox and his Marines encounter improvised explosive devices, and must take control to eliminate the threat with the help of route clearance platoons and explosive ordnance disposal teams. Other times the weather is their greatest enemy.
One mission placed the Marines in a sand storm that prevented them from driving. On the verge of Christmas, Cox kept morale high by celebrating in unique style. The Marines fashioned a Christmas tree out of a spare radio antenna and decorated it with ornaments fashioned from items in their trucks.
Cox's calm demeanor and endless resolve have kept his Marines alive in deadly situations.
"Lt. Cox is a great leader," said Cpl. Cory Parker, Cox's radio operator.
Cox and the other Marines of Support Company sleep in their vehicles most nights. They are lucky to shower once a week. They also have some of the highest morale and most proficient Marines in Afghanistan.
Cox is the son of Steven and Natalie Cox, of West End.
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