Story of Month

November 5, 2017


Harrison T. Cox is one of four winners to receive the 2017 DKWF Scholarship, the one named in honor of The Honorable Howard Coble, for Public Service. He graduated from Abeka Academy in 2016 and is currently in college. He is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and is in the Mount Vernon Squadron, Civil Air Patrol. He is an accomplished writer with several articles published in Espirit Magazine. He is an avid runner on the Fairfax Homeschool Athletic Association Cross Country Team and has run in several 5K races, earning two Varsity letters. He also has experience as a Production Assistant in the Potomac Arts Academy on productions of Mad Hatter’s Wonderland Adventures, Alice in Wonderland, Horton’s Who, Seuss Adventures, The Enchanted Castle, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, and others. His essay was selected as the DKWF Story of the Month for November 2017 in honor of his father and grandfather for Veterans Day.

Harrison is in the Naval ROTC College Program at Old Dominion University as a University Scholar, majoring in International Studies and Political Science. He has a strong Naval heritage and a desire to serve his country, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. As a Cadet First Lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol, he is well on his way to becoming an outstanding leader. He distinguished himself as City Mayor in the American Legion’s Virginia Boys State. Harrison’s essay is below:

My paternal grandfather, Larry E. Cox, at the cusp of the age of seventeen, chose to end his formal high school education and enlist in the United States Navy in November 1952 to serve his country during a time of war, believing that such an act was admirable and that he was answering his nation’s call. I wholeheartedly agree. Although his immediate thoughts were not centered about the overarching principles of democracy and freedom, but rather the ensuing rigors of basic training and the seafaring adventures that

were to follow, my grandfather understood that his service was an integral part of curbing communist world aggression.

Upon graduation from Naval Training Center Great Lakes, my grandfather was fortunate to be assigned to the Mine Warfare Community first serving briefly aboard the USS Pandemus (ARL-18), which operated as a minesweeper tender, before transferring to the USS Grosbeak (AMS-14), which operated as an Auxiliary Minesweeper along the Eastern Seaboard and often made port at the Naval Minecraft Base, Charleston, South Carolina; Mine Warfare School, Yorktown, Virginia; and the Naval Mine Countermeasures Station, Panama City, Florida. I have been privileged to hear, first-hand, stories of sweeping mines and detonating them utilizing 20-millimeter gun mounts or even a M1 Garand Rifle. Even though my grandfather wasn’t fortunate to serve in the Korean Theater, as only 16 Auxiliary Minesweepers served in theater, he is a Korean War veteran and I have learned that it does not diminish his service and that his service was characterized by courage and adventure and the ideals that support democracy and freedom, and that any man who served aboard a mine warfare craft was welcomed into the brotherhood of wooden ships and iron men. Having learned of the exploits of my grandfather’s crew, they were indeed men of iron. One must only recall the Mine Force motto to understand the special men it took to serve aboard a mine warfare craft, “Where the Fleet Goes, We’ve Been.”

My grandfather’s sacrifices have distinctly shaped my goals. I desire to serve my country as a commissioned officer in the United States Navy. If I am successful in attaining my commission then I would have the honor of becoming the fourth generation of men in my family to serve in the United States Navy; an honor that holds great significance to me and serves as great motivation. My naval lineage commences in 1923 with the enlistment of my paternal great-grandfather, who fought in the Second Nicaraguan Campaign; continues with my paternal grandfather, the Korean War veteran; and concludes with my father, who served as an enlisted sailor during the 1990’s and participated in operations in Haiti, Bosnia, and the Persian Gulf. Through the mentoring of all three generations of forefathers, either directly or indirectly, I have been significantly impacted and sincerely desire to serve my country. The experiences of my forefathers now fill the history books and I now desire to add my personal story to the family history and serve my country.