Remembering SGT Earl Cox

SGT Earl Leslie Leonard Cox was born in Ravenna, Portage County, Ohio, on January 14, 1920. Ravenna lies just southeast of Cleveland and Earl Cox lived most of his life in that area. He registered for the draft at Akron, Ohio, on July 1, 1941. After his enlisted for the paratroops on June 18, 1942, Earl became part of Fox Company, 502nd PIR, of the 101st Screaming Eagles. The year before that, he had married Kathleen Ash on August 9, 1941. 

Earl Cox’s nickname 

SGT Earl L.L. Cox, a 101st Screaming Eagle all the way (Courtesy of the Nicholas J. Neises Family).

Earl Cox would serve within Fox Company, 502nd PIR, of the 101st Airborne Division throughout World War II. Most of Fox Company’s men were given a nickname and his buddies called him “The Chin”. Dan McBride recalled the background of this name. “Earl Cox looked like Andy Gump who was at the time a famous cartoon in the snotty papers [Sunday papers]. Andy Gump was portrayed as a guy with not much of a chin, and as Earl did not have a real chin either, he was given the nickname of ‘Andy Gump’ or ‘The Chin’.” 

SGT Cox’s diary of his combat experience 

SGT Earl “The Chin” Cox fought with F/502 at each of the important battles. He jumped into Normandy and the Netherlands and fought in the Battle of the Bulge as well. Since his time in the Netherlands, he kept a diary that has a lot of detailed information like assignments, names, and dates. Though not without an occasional (historical) flaw or missing certain details about the daily activities, it gives a wonderful glimpse of Fox Company’s combat period in the Netherlands and during the Battle of the Bulge. On some occasions, it perfectly matches with other historical documents or interviews with the F/502 paratroopers, making the stories more complete, as well as placing them in the right chronological order and historical context. Therefore, SGT Earl Cox’s diary has been a treasure trove while researching Fox Company’s exploits at these two battlegrounds. 

His post-war life 

SGT Cox’s uniform (Source: FB page The Gettysburg Museum of History).

Earl Cox was discharged on September 21, 1945. In 1985, he retired from Rockwell International after 40 (+) years of service. He passed away in Kearney, Nebraska, on February 2, 1994, at the age of 74 years. Another 101st Screaming Eagle had soared. His wife Kathleen died six years earlier, on May 9, 1988. They are buried together at Northlawn Memorial Gardens, Cuyahoga Falls, Summit County, Ohio. 

This is a short story about the operations of Fox Company’s paratroopers in the Netherlands, as described in the book: From the Frying Pan to Mittersill, Fox Company, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (1942 – 1945). If you are interested in learning more about this courageous Fox Company paratrooper, order your copy now!


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