Remembering Lt. John R. Fox
Fox Hall, located in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, headquarters for First Battalion, 22nd Field Artillery, has been named for Medal of Honor recipient First Lt. John R. Fox, a Black American who was killed in action after calling in artillery fire onto his position and the surrounding enemy during World War II.
As America celebrates Black History Month, the brave service of Fox needs to be remembered and honored.
According to Army.com, Fox was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on May 18, 1915, the oldest of his two siblings. He was raised in the city of Wyoming, Ohio, and attended Ohio State University. He joined the Army in 1940 at the age of 25. He then transferred to Wilberforce University, attending ROTC. Fox graduated with a degree in engineering and received a commission as an Army second lieutenant in 1941. When the United States entered World War II in 1941, Fox answered the call.
Fox took part in the Italian Campaign as a lieutenant assigned to Cannon Company, 366th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Infantry Division (a segregated African-American division known as the Buffalo Soldiers) where he served as a forward observer while attached to the 598th Field Artillery Battalion.
According to the U.S. Army, On December 26, 1944, Fox was part of a forward observer party that volunteered to stay behind in the Italian village of Sommocolonia. American forces had been forced to withdraw from the village as it had been overrun by the Germans. From his position on the second floor of a house, Fox called in defensive artillery fire. As the Wehrmacht soldiers continued attacking, Fox radioed the artillery to bring its fire closer to his position, finally ordering to fire directly on his position.
The resulting artillery attack killed Fox and about 100 German soldiers surrounding his position. This airstrike stopped the Wehrmacht’s attack.
Fox’s sacrifice gained time for U.S. forces to reorganize and launch a counterattack. As a result, the American units succeeded in a counterattack and they retook the position from the Germans. The village was recaptured on Jan. 1, 1945.
Despite the segregation Fox received in the USA, Fox stepped up to his duty and fought for our freedom.
According to Wikipedia, Fox’s gravestone rests in a small village called Sommocolonia in Tuscany, Italy. It is placed on a hill, in the middle of woods. If you reach that hill, you will discover a small and ruined tombstone. That tombstone was put there in memory of John Fox, the hero of the Christmas battle (1944).
Fox’s loyalty and sacrifice to the country will forever be remembered; he is an inspiration to every American soldier out there.