LT. Charles John Cox
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Charles John Cox (NSN: 0-641594), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism on the morning of 15 September 1968 while serving with United States forces engaged in riverine assault operations against communist aggressor forces in the Republic of Vietnam. As Commander of River Assault Division 111, River Squadron 5, Task Force 117 (TF-117), Lieutenant Cox was leading a column of assault craft down the Ben Tre River in Kien Hoa Province when the column was ambushed by a Viet Cong unit. After ordering return fire from all weapons, Lieutenant Cox exposed himself to fierce enemy fire while evaluating the tactical situation and marking beach sites for his boats. Although painfully wounded at the outset by exploding rocket fragments, he continued to issue orders and maintain tight control over his division, landing embarked troops on both enemy flanks. In order to insure the safe arrival of the medical aid boat to attend to his numerous casualties, he ordered a monitor at the aid boat’s location to provide fire support, and then directed his boat and another monitor back through the ambush. As the front and rear units met in a hail of enemy fire, Lieutenant Cox ordered his two monitors to reverse course and, while running the ambush for the third time, led all four boats to a position of relative safety. He then supervised the treatment or evacuation of his wounded before submitting to much-needed attention for his own injuries. Because of his rare tactical brilliance, the infantry units were landed at optimal positions to assault the enemy from both flanks and inflict serious damage while sustaining little themselves. During two subsequent, intense engagements on 15 and 16 September 1968, Lieutenant Cox led his men with the same high degree of courage and competence. His exemplary performance of duty with consistent disregard for his own safety or his painful wounds throughout two days was instrumental in the success of an operation which inflicted numerous enemy casualties. By his inspiring leadership, great personal valor, and selfless devotion to duty, Lieutenant Cox upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals
Action Date: September 15 & 16, 1968
Battalion: River Assault Division 111
Regiment: River Squadron 5
Division: Task Force 117 (TF-117)