Marine Rifleman: Forty-Three Years in the Corps

Overview


Intrigued by the mystique and challenge of the Marine Corps, eighteen-year-old Wesley Fox enlisted in the summer of 1950, shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War. He saw action with the First Marine Division in Korea and was wounded in 1951. After Korea, Fox advanced steadily in the enlisted ranks, reaching the rank of first sergeant, and, early in the Vietnam War, he received an appointment as second lieutenant. While serving as a rifle company commander with the Third Marine Division in 1969, he was twice...
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Marine Rifleman: Forty-Three Years in the Corps

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Overview


Intrigued by the mystique and challenge of the Marine Corps, eighteen-year-old Wesley Fox enlisted in the summer of 1950, shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War. He saw action with the First Marine Division in Korea and was wounded in 1951. After Korea, Fox advanced steadily in the enlisted ranks, reaching the rank of first sergeant, and, early in the Vietnam War, he received an appointment as second lieutenant. While serving as a rifle company commander with the Third Marine Division in 1969, he was twice wounded in a vicious battle during Operation Dewey Canyon. Early in this battle, every member of the company’s command staff was either wounded or killed. In an all-or-nothing effort led by First Lieutenant Fox, his company repulsed the attack of a much larger enemy force and then counterattacked with devastating results. “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty,” Fox received the Medal of Honor, which President Richard Nixon presented to him at the White House. Despite the personal sacrifice and frequent danger, Fox resolutely embraced the ethos of the Marine Corps, risking his life on numerous occasions and emerging as a leader in one of the most respected and feared fighting organizations in the world. Readers interested in U.S. military history from the second half of the twentieth century, in the Marine Corps, and in inspiring tales of personal achievement will find plenty of each in Fox’s extraordinary memoir.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Fox was, and still is, the Marine all of us wanted to be....This book explains why."

"A young Marine would do well to read Fox's book before opening Sun Tzu's The Art of War."

"With expected humility, [Fox] does not dwell on his actions, but instead on the Marines who fought with him and were the benefactors of his amazing leadership."

"Memoirs of military men are no rarity, but few cover a life in as much remarkable detail as this one."

"An excellent memoir--well-written, informative, and candid. . . . Particularly lucid are [the author's] descriptions of combat, but this reviewer found his tales of jump school and of escape and evasion during POW training--when he was not supposed to escape and evade--equally worthwhile. His book could serve as a model of how to write a meaningful memoir."

"With or without the Medal of Honor, Col. Wes Fox is the epitome of a true Marine. In Marine Rifleman, he captures the essence of the Marine Corps in both peace and war."

"Wes Fox's reputation as a Marine did not require a Medal of Honor, and his autobiography shows that he can write as well as he can fight....Wes is the Marine we all tried to become."

"An intimate look at the Marine Corps in the last half of the twentieth century Fox's combat narratives are riveting. His lessons learned and leadership perspectives, coupled with his various forays into assignment politics, make his book an interesting and easy read. This is a winner and should be on the Marine Corps Reading List."

"Throughout Wes Fox's forty-three years of service to our nation, he exemplified the letter and the spirit of the Marines' special motto, 'Semper Fidelis.'"

"Fox was, and still is, the Marine all of us wanted to be....This book explains why."

"A young Marine would do well to read Fox's book before opening Sun Tzu's The Art of War."

"With expected humility, [Fox] does not dwell on his actions, but instead on the Marines who fought with him and were the benefactors of his amazing leadership."

"Memoirs of military men are no rarity, but few cover a life in as much remarkable detail as this one."

"An excellent memoir--well-written, informative, and candid. . . . Particularly lucid are [the author's] descriptions of combat, but this reviewer found his tales of jump school and of escape and evasion during POW training--when he was not supposed to escape and evade--equally worthwhile. His book could serve as a model of how to write a meaningful memoir."

"With or without the Medal of Honor, Col. Wes Fox is the epitome of a true Marine. In Marine Rifleman, he captures the essence of the Marine Corps in both peace and war."

"Wes Fox's reputation as a Marine did not require a Medal of Honor, and his autobiography shows that he can write as well as he can fight....Wes is the Marine we all tried to become."

"An intimate look at the Marine Corps in the last half of the twentieth century Fox's combat narratives are riveting. His lessons learned and leadership perspectives, coupled with his various forays into assignment politics, make his book an interesting and easy read. This is a winner and should be on the Marine Corps Reading List."

"Throughout Wes Fox's forty-three years of service to our nation, he exemplified the letter and the spirit of the Marines' special motto, 'Semper Fidelis.'"

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781574884258
  • Publisher: Potomac Books
  • Publication date: 5/30/2002
  • Series: Memories of War
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 428
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Col. Wesley L. Fox, USMC (Ret.), retired from the Marine Corps in 1993 after forty-three years of distinguished service. In addition to the Medal of Honor, he received two awards of the Legion of Merit, a Bronze Star with Combat V, four awards of the Purple Heart, and numerous commendations. From 1993 until his retirement in 2001, Fox served as deputy commandant of cadets at Virginia Tech. He lives in Blacksburg, Virginia.
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Table of Contents


List of Maps     ix
Acknowledgments     xi
Prologue     xiii
Private, USMC     1
Family background and adolescent days
Recruit experiences at Parris Island
Alligators, DIs, heat, and sand fleas
Maltreatment, physical and verbal abuse
Rifle qualification
Private First Class     21
2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune
En route to the Korean War
Combat with a rifle company
Squad personalities
Corporal Davis, Squad Leader
Accidental discharge
Whisky raid on the Army
Corporal     46
Difficulties due to promotion
Rear guard action following Chinese breakthrough on flank
Hilarious meeting with Chinese patrol
Listening post assignment
Chinese night attack and breakthrough
Hall killed, enemy behind us
Grenade malfunction
Closing the breakthrough
Assignment in No-Man's Land
Bodies of 38th Regiment's soldiers recovered
Wounded in assault on enemy machine gun
Squad Leader
Sergeant     81
Armed Services Policeman, Washington, DC
Guard duty in postwar Japan
Rifle Company Platoon Sergeant in Korea
1st Marine Division returns stateside
Drill Instructor duty
Staff Sergeant     105
Recruit hazing and maltreatment
Shakeup of Marine Corps following death of recruits at Parris Island
New way of making Marines
Flirt with Hollywood
Recruiting duty
Technical Sergeant     122
Recruiting quotas and quality recruits
Daily life and work of a recruiter
Pathfinder1st Force Reconnaissance Company
POW, Escape, Evasion, and Survival training
Marriage
Parachute and SCUBA training
Deployment to Okinawa
Riptide sweep seaward
Brush with death in parachute landing
Gunnery Sergeant     172
Sport parachuting and parachute malfunctions
Parachute Demonstration Team
Brain concussion from parachute landing
Competitive rifle and pistol shooting
First child
Seeking assignment to Vietnam lands duty in Paris, France
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
Promotion to 1st Sergeant
Selection for temporary commission
2nd Lieutenant     184
2nd Force Reconnaissance Company
Personality conflict with company 1st Sergeant
Submarine escape trunk training
Locking out of and entering a submerged, underway submarine
Loss of friend in parachuting accident
Vietnamese advisor training at Fort Bragg
1st Lieutenant, Section 1     202
Advisor duty with Vietnamese Marine Corps
Overcoming Vietnamese counterpart's objection to working with an American lieutenant
Vietnamese leaders use war as means of making money
Personality conflict with only other American assigned
Enemy Tet offensive
Three Marines take on an enemy battalion
R&R with wife in Honolulu
Extension of combat tour
1st Lieutenant, Section 2     231
Assignment as Company Commander, Company A, 1st Bn, 9th Marine Rgt
Opportunity to hone the fighting skills of Marines
Company A locks on with an NVA battalion
Miraculous performance of Marines despite loss of all platoon commanders
Recommended for the Medal of Honor
Captain     267
Leaving Vietnam
Student and Instructor
Nixon presents the Medal of Honor
Marine Security Guard duty in Eastern and Western Europe
Embassy Marines and Physical Fitness Test
Operations Officer, 3rd Reconnaissance Bn on Okinawa
Student, Western State College
Major     296
Colorado outdoor sports
Graduated cum laude
Reconnaissance Officer, Development Center
Testing and evaluating new equipment
Multiple parachute malfunctions
Parachute offset delivery techniques
Hang gliders
Lieutenant Colonel     316
Battalion Command
Preparation for deployment
Combined Arms Exercise
Training challenges
Proactive leadership options
Long foot marches and zero disciplinary problems
Battalion to the top of Mount Fuji
Army War College
Director of Staff, NCO Academy
Colonel of Marines     348
Sea duty
Joint Plans Officer
Oslo, Norway
Officer Candidate School
Keep only those who will make good leaders
Determining who can think and react properly under extreme stress
A question on one's integrity is a ticket home
Glossary
Notes
Maps
Korea: 1st Marine Division Tactical Area of Operation, 1951
Korea: 1st Marine Division Tactical Area of Operation, April-May 1951
Vietnam: US Marine Tactical Area of Operation, 1968 and 1969
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2007

    Leadership by Example

    I had the chance to meet Colonel Fox this year at Texas Tech University. He is the Marine Corps, and his memoir is a must read for every Marine past, present, and future. In my opinion, every American should take the time to read this important book about a true American Marine Corps hero. Thank you Colonel Fox for your outstanding 43 years of service in America's elite fighting force!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2004

    A Marines Marine

    This book focuses on a world not many know, the career of a member of the largest elite fighting force in the world, The United States Marine Corps. It tells the story of Wesley Fox, A man who rose from private to Colonel and is a man I can safely call Marine's Marine. He writes in a straight forward manner describing the good with the bad, His own personal triumphs as well as the setbacks and most importantly the inner conflict between his commitment to the Corps and his devotion to his family. Colonel Fox served over 40 years and during that time he was not content to just serve his time but excelled at every job he was assigned to, going that extra mile that makes the differance between people who do their job and those who lead by example and motivate those around them to do the same. I served three and a half years with the Marine Infantry as a Navy Hospital Corpsman during some of the time he was in and the things and places he writes about brought back a flood of memories for me. In closing I'd like to Highly recommend this book, it's very readable and interesting even if you're not pro military it' still a fasinating story of a true American hero. Colonel Fox, it would have been an honor to have served with you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2003

    A Marine's - Marine

    I had the Honor of meeting Col. Wesley Fox this past Veteran's Day in Washington D.C. at the 3rd Recon Reunion. Col. Fox's book was a motivating and inspirational piece of Military and Marine Corps History. The values and beliefs outlined in each chapter strikes deep into the hearts of everyone whoever wore the Globe & Anchor. The book truly defines the discipline, heritage and pride, each Marine carries with them following graduation from Boot Camp. I would have liked the opportunity to have served beside him. I know we must have eaten the same dirt in Vietnam in 68. Hand Salute & Semper Fi, Sgt. James V. Rapone USMC Vietnam 68

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2002

    Army Man Much Impressed with a Marine

    Writing is great. COL Fox illustrates Military leadership by example, from NCO through Officer Ranks in both War and Peace. A primer for those who follow. A battlefield warrior himself, his writing makes you feel the 'grunts' fear, anxiety, courage and finally relief when their battlefield falls quiet. Witnessed is 'up-front" leadership eliminating problems and issues, preparing subordinates to do their very best. Who among the over-40 crowd, can not easily remember their very best 'leader'? Fox is one! Also,illustrated is how a Military Superior can (and does)fairly and un-fairly impact the career of their subordinate with "a few words and x's" on a piece of paper.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2002

    Required Reading for All Marines

    This book is the Story in hiStory! The story gets the reader involved. Col Fox can describe the battlefield terrain through the eyes of a Recon Marine. You can almost feel the earth as he describes a trail or a foxhole or the triple canopy jungle of Vietnam. You are there. The lessons learned summary of each chapter can be applied to civilian life as well as the military. Col Fox's story is an outstanding guide for someone wanting to know more about a career in the Marine Corps. We often think that a Marine is only a rifleman, but this book shows the many facets of a career. A retired Army friend of mine said, "I got 1 years experience 20 times". Col Fox got 43 years experience. The book is quite a page turner. I recommend that you go back over each chapter after you have read the entire book and relate the lessons learned to the events in the chapter. Look at the maps and follow the adventure. In his Staff Sergeant chapter, he tells us about his days as a Drill Instructor. I was a member of Platoon 107. He was my DI.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2003

    MARINE RIFLEMAN: A Solid Chunk of Interesting History

    During semester break I devoted much of my spare time to reading MARINE RIFLEMAN: FORTY THREE YEARS IN THE CORPS. It is a magnificent book. Colonel Fox's narrative constitutes a solid chunk of from interesting to fascinating history.In this book the author has left a great contribution to the Marine Corps Tradition and world history. MARINE RIFLEMAN is strong, tough, intelligent, gungy, generous, and honest, just like its modest author. Colonel Fox's book is one of the most powerful, memorable and valuable books I have read. As the careful reader will discern, Wes Fox and his family have sacrificed A LOT for the great country, the U.S.A. Readers worldwide should be extremely grateful for Colonel Fox's tremendously detailed and insighftul narrative. SEMPER FIDELIS, James J. Kirschke, Captain, United States Marine Corps, retired, and Professor of English, Villanova University (author of NOT GOING HOME ALONE: A MARINE'S STORY)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2002

    Great Read. What the Corps should be about.

    This book covers the 43 year career of one Marine. And a damn fine Marine he is. Col. Fox is a Marines Marine. Semper Fi

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