Victoria_Cross_of_canada

THE

 

TO THE VICTORIA & GEORGE CROSS

COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE

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b. 18/05/1915 Cincinnati, Ohio. d. 26/12/1944 Sommocolonia, Italy.

 

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 26/12/1944 Sommocolonia, Italy.

 

Fox was born in Cincinnati, Ohio May 18, 1915, and attended Wilberforce University, participating in ROTC under Aaron R. Fisher and graduating with a commission of second lieutenant in 1940. He was 29 years old when he called artillery fire on his own position the day after Christmas in 1944, for which he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1982. More than fifty years after his death, Fox was awarded the Medal of Honor. He is buried in Colebrook Cemetery in Whitman, Massachusetts.

 

In the early 1990s it was determined that African-American soldiers had been denied consideration for the Medal of Honor solely due to their race. After a review, seven African-American soldiers had their Medals upgraded in January, 1997 to the Medal of Honor; First Lieutenant Fox was one of the seven.

 

MOH CITATION:

 

For extraordinary heroism against an armed enemy in the vicinity of Sommocolonia, Italy on 26 December 1944, while serving as a member of Cannon Company, 366th Infantry Regiment, 92d Infantry Division. During the preceding few weeks, Lieutenant Fox served with the 598th Field Artillery Battalion as a forward observer. On Christmas night, enemy soldiers gradually infiltrated the town of Sommocolonia in civilian clothes, and by early morning the town was largely in hostile hands. Commencing with a heavy barrage of enemy artillery at 0400 hours on 26 December 1944, an organized attack by uniformed German units began. Being greatly outnumbered, most of the United States Infantry forces were forced to withdraw from the town, but Lieutenant Fox and some other members of his observer party voluntarily remained on the second floor of a house to direct defensive artillery fire. At 0800 hours, Lieutenant Fox reported that the Germans were in the streets and attacking in strength. He then called for defensive artillery fire to slow the enemy advance. As the Germans continued to press the attack towards the area that Lieutenant Fox occupied, he adjusted the artillery fire closer to his position. Finally he was warned that the next adjustment would bring the deadly artillery right on top of his position. After acknowledging the danger, Lieutenant Fox insisted that the last adjustment be fired as this was the only way to defeat the attacking soldiers. Later, when a counterattack retook the position from the Germans, Lieutenant Fox's body was found with the bodies of approximately 100 German soldiers. Lieutenant Fox's gallant and courageous actions, at the supreme sacrifice of his own life, contributed greatly to delaying the enemy advance until other infantry and artillery units could reorganize to repel the attack.

 

BURIAL LOCATION: COLEBROOK CEMETERY, WHITMAN, MASSACHUSETTS.

Lot 664, Lot 665, Grave 6

John Robert Fox

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