|Born||18 May 1915|
|Died||26 Dec 1944|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseJohn Robert Fox was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States in 1915 as the eldest of three children. He grew up in Wyoming, Ohio and attended Ohio State University and then Wilberforce University. At Wilberforce, he was a member of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). He graduated from Wilberforce with a degree in engineering and received a commission as a second lieutenant in the US Army. During WW2, he was a member of 598th Artillery Battalion of 366th Infantry Regiment of the 92nd Infantry Division, a segregated all-black division nicknamed "Buffalo Soldiers". On 26 Dec 1944, while serving as a forward observer at the village of Sommocolonia in the Serchio River Valley in Toscana, Italy, which was a part of the German defensive Gothic Line/Green Line, he remained behind to call in artillery on advancing German troops as American forces withdrew. As the Germans got closer, he called in strikes increasingly close to his own position until artillery fire fell onto the house where he was located. The soldier who received Fox's final coordinates, Otis Zachary, protested, but relented when Fox said over the radio "Fire it! There's more of them than there are of us. Give them hell!" The resulting barrage killed Fox and approximately 100 German soldiers near his position. He was buried at the Colebrook Cemetery in Whitman, Massachusetts, United States. A recommendation for the Distinguished Service Cross award was lost, and it was not officially awarded until 1982. In the 1990s, it was determined that black WW2 soldiers had been denied consideration for the Medal of Honor due to rampant racism, and a recommendation to award ten Medals of Honor was accepted by the US Congress. In 1997, President Bill Clinton approved seven of the ten recommendations, including that of Fox's. Fox's widow accepted the medal on his behalf.
Last Major Revision: Sep 2021
John Fox Timeline
|18 May 1915||John Fox was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States.|
|26 Dec 1944||In order to blunt the spearhead of a German advance at Sommocolonia, Toscana, Italy, US artillery observer John Fox called in strikes progressively closer to his own position until he called a strike on the house where he was located. He was killed by the final artillery barrage, along with approximately 100 German soldiers.|
|15 Apr 1982||John Fox was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.|
|12 Jan 1997||US President Bill Clinton approved the Medal of Honor for black WW2 military servicemen Vernon Baker, Edward Carter, John Fox, Willy James, Ruben Rivers, Charles Thomas, and George Watson.|
|13 Jan 1997||US President Bill Clinton awarded seven Medals of Honor to black WW2 military servicemen Vernon Baker, Edward Carter, John Fox, Willy James, Ruben Rivers, Charles Thomas, and George Watson. They were denied of the award due to their race.|
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