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A Family Tribute to ~ Thank You for Your Service ~ SSgt T. C. Cox, KIA 5 December 1943

T. C. Cox and Dorothy Culwell Cox
with their son
T. C. "Skip" Cox
Circa Mid-1942

T. C.and Dorothy were married in Stephenville, Erath Co., Texas
on 20 April 1941 and Skip was born 22 March 1942.
SSgt T. C. Cox KIA 5 December 1943 Mignano, Caserta Province, Campania, Italy

The third T. C., Troy C. Cox, grandson of SSgt T. C. Cox, told me of the path that his grandpa took after joining the Texas National Guard. He joined the Texas National Guard before 25 November 1940, in Stephenville, Texas.

Troy received some information about the last few days his grandfather was with his battalion. A copy of his file card shows:

"...your grandfather joined the Texas National Guard before November 25th 1940. That is the date they were brought into federal service, so his TNG records would be here on post with retained records. It would only cover the time from his enlistment to Nov. 25, 1940. Company D, 142nd Infantry was based in Stephenville, Texas before the war.

It shows a Good Conduct Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, and Purple Heart. It shows he was KIA on December 5, 1943. From the 142bs Infantry After Action Report for that date. 

" On the 5th of December the Special Service Force reported a strong German counterattack early in the morning on their right flank, which was repulsed.  At 1000 the 1st and 2nd Battalion commanders (company D is 1st battalion) were informed as follows: It is planned to move the 1st Battalion to an assembly area in the vicinity of the southern slope of MT. LA DIFENSA under the cover of darkness tonight with the future mission of relieving the 1st Special Service Force. Company "I" will relieve Company "A". The positions of Company "B" and "C" will be vacated but will be patrolled by the 2nd Battalion.

Information was then received at the Command Post that the British were on Hill 619 and had a company within four hundred yards of the monastery but did not have their objective. At 1840 it was reported that the 1st Special Service Force had taken hill 907 at 2000, due to enemy shelling all wire lines were out to the 1st and 2nd Battalions, ...During the night it was estimated that one hundred forty-five rounds of enemy fire fell on the pack trail and was quite heavy in the valley.”
Lisa Sharik
Deputy Director
Texas Military Forces Museum

From what I’m able to read from the AAR's (After Action Reports) 142nd 1st Battalion was conducting patrol up and down the mountain. Grandpa just missed being relieved by an Italian Brigade according to the AAR's.

From the 1st Bn, 142nd's unit Journal:
At dawn on 3 Dec, the 142nd infantry, the Special Services Force, which was composed of American and Canadian troops, and the British, launched an attack against German positions in the M. Camino Mt. Maggiore hill mass, with the aid of allied artillery, initial objectives were taken and the units participating drove on to further objectives.
4 Dec,
Active patrols were maintained and all units were alerted for a possible German counter-attack against forces on Mt. Maggiore which had driven the enemy from the greater proportion of the hill mass.
5 Dec.
The company "9" outpost line was hit by German patrol at 0300 hours. Company B opened fire and the Germans retaliated with machine pistol and rifle grenade fire. The enemy force was unable to penetrate into the Company B position and quickly withdrew.
On the morning of 5 Dec. Battalion Staff officers were getting instruction regarding relief of their battalions by the 1st Italian Motorized Brigade. Patrols returned from 1st and 3rd BN after making daylight recon of enemy territory with info on machine gun, mortar, artillery emplacements.
6 Dec.
The 1st Italian troops to enter as American Allies relieved the troops on Mt. Lungo that morning, 1st Bn was not relieved until the night of 6 Dec.

Grandpa T. C. was killed on that mountain - Mt. Maggiore on 5 December 1943. "Mt. Maggiore became known as the "million dollar mountain" because of the huge amount of ammunition expended, and artillerymen called the barrage the 'Serenade to Mussolini and Hitler'". For Christmas last year my parents gave me some letters from him to my grandmother Dot and many from her to him that have never been opened since they sent the letters back to her after he was killed. They are still tied together with the ribbon she tied them with before putting them away.  I also have the Western Union Telegram they sent to my grandmother announcing his death.
The day T. C. died, December 5, was a Sunday after the bombings of Mt. Maggiore started on the evening of December 2. This mountain is near the community of Mignano which is about 18-20 miles southeast of Cassino, where they say T. C. was first interred. That cemetery is no longer there, because all U. S. servicemen that were not sent home for burial were moved to a U. S. military cemetery in Florence when they started re-interring the bodies in 1947. The U. S. bodies were brought down the mountain by mules, but the Italian muleskinners would not bring them down, because they thought it was bad luck to lead the mules down with dead bodies on them, so servicemen did it. If Grandpa T. C. had made it home like Mama Dot kept hoping for, the 36th was home in Texas December 1945, it would have been 2 more years of her waiting for him to come home. I think she would have gladly waited.

Staff Sgt 142 Inf 36 Div
World War II
Jan 5 1915 - Dec 5 1945

Johnsville Cemetery
Erath County, Texas

Johnsville Cemetery
Land for cemetery given by T. C.'s Grandparents
Edward and Mary Shaw Cox

Originals belonging to Troy C. Cox, digital format used, sent to Judith Richards Shubert
Personal Family Information, T. C. "Skip" Cox
Personal Family Information, Troy C. Cox
Texas Military Forces Museum,


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Copyright 2014: Judith Richards Shubert


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