‘Sandbox Sailor’ Awarded Bronze Star
GROTON, CONN. – A Sailor assigned to Los Angeles class submarine USS Memphis (SSN 691), was awarded the Bronze Star Medal on Feb. 24 for his technical expertise, unswerving devotion to his unit, and exceptionally meritorious service in a combat zone with exposure to risk of hostile action during a 12 month deployment to Iraq.
Chief Electronics Technician William R. Cox, Jr., of Tuscaloosa, AL, volunteered as an Individual Augmentee (IA) and left for Iraq in November 2008. While there, Cox, a former Submarine School instructor, was assigned to Joint CREW Composite Squadron One, Multi-National Corps-Iraq, and contributed to the unit’s combat readiness. He also provided his technical expertise and trained his personnel on the Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare system, also known as CREW. This system protected troops by controlling and jamming the remote signals that could detonate Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Devices (RCIEDs).
“The country’s involved in two wars,” said Cmdr. Charles H. Maher, Memphis Commanding Officer. ”And when the other branches of the military find themselves shorthanded and are in need of people with special skills, people like Chief Cox step up to the plate.”
“I would recommend an IA to any young sailor,” said Cox, who reported aboard Memphis this month. “The joint service program is a great experience. I get e-mails everyday from Army guys, Air force guys and Marines that I met over there. They’re all great people and I enjoyed working with them.”
In contrast to a Sailor who deploys with a ship, squadron or unit, IA Sailors leave their assigned unit or command to deploy individually or with a small group. Currently, there are nearly 11,000 active and reserve Navy IAs. Most of them are concentrated in the 26-nation Central Command region, which includes Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the Horn of Africa. The rest are serving elsewhere in the world.
Cox, referred to as a ‘Sandbox Sailor’ by Maher, joined the Navy in 1989. He’s been to many commands and has deployed many times throughout his career.
“I don’t know how many deployments you’ve done,” said Maher. “But I’m sure you’ve done a bunch of ‘em.”
Cox, laughed as he looked back to his wife, Nancy, and noticed her shaking her head.