Weatherford Democrat

November 9, 2012

Like mother, like son for military family

Sally Sexton

PARKER COUNTY — Liz Cox didn’t have the ideal childhood when she was growing up.

Their alcoholic father told Cox and her sister they’d never amount to anything.

“He was your typical alcoholic,” she said. “He told us we could either go to school or get out of the house.”

Determined to prove her father wrong, Cox secretly went and saw an Army recruiter after high school.

“When the recruiter came and knocked on our door, it was definitely a shock to [my parents],” she said. “My dad was upset, but my mom was excited for me.”

Cox attended basic training in 1983 at Fort Dix in New Jersey, entering the military as a private E-1.

“I was supposed to be a mechanic for tanks and such, but I realized that wasn’t for me, so I went into administration,” she said.

Soon after, Cox was sent to Fort Jackson in South Carolina, then transferred to Fort Worth as an administrative specialist for the 607th Military Police Battalion, an Army Reserve Unit.

“I worked in the training section, and a lot of it was field work,” she said. “We spent most of our time out in the field getting dirty.”

Cox would spend another six and a half years there before transferring to an engineer brigade in Bryan. She would stay there until getting out of the Army in July of 1992, retiring as a sergeant.

“I already had two kids at home, and was ready to get back to life in the regular world,” Cox said.

It was then that Cox received some unexpected news from her father.

“When my husband and I moved to Weatherford, my dad finally told me that I had done good,” she said.

As a veteran mom, Cox had hopes that her children would join the military, but she wouldn’t be granted that wish until May of 2007, during her son Wes’ basic training in Fort Leonard in Missouri.

“I was hoping my son would’ve joined the military but he didn’t want to at first,” she said. “Finally in 2007, he decided he wanted to get his life together.”

Wes Cox was deployed to Iraq in 2008, spending 15 months there before returning home in 2009.

“He came home on the Fourth of July,” Liz Cox said. “He would always talk fondly of the little Iraqi children and how sweet they were.”

Going into the military, Wes Cox was a private E-1, rising to a sergeant within two years of duty.

His time away was both a time of pride, and and terrifying experience for his mother.

“I was scared when he went to Iraq, but luckily I still got to talk to him a lot through satellite phones,” she said. “I’m very proud of him.”

Wes Cox currently serves as a “sapper,” the term for a pioneer or combat engineer.

“As a sapper, aside from long range recon and pathfinder ops, we can employ demolitions, clear improvised explosive devices, emplace obstacles, build fortifications, seize and clear air fields, or fight as infantry and reinforce Special Forces,” he said.

Whether the tradition will continue reamins to be seen.  Cox is the grandmother of two, including her son’s son.