Cox, Newton O. (803rd)

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Biography:  Newton Oliver Cox, “Newt”, was born on March 26, 1919, in Spiro, Oklahoma. He was the son of Charles Cox and Rilla Alice Pyeatt. The family moved around for work and ended up settling in Van Nuys, California. Newt attended Van Nuys High School through the 10th grade.

His first job was in an ice cream shop but he would later work for a Safeway grocery store as a clerk and then as the produce manager.

Service Time:  Newt entered the service on April 1, 1941, at Los Angeles, CA, and after his basic training, he was eventually assigned to Company B of the 803rd Tank Destroyer Battalion. They trained in the U.S. at a number of military facilities including Fort Lewis in Washington, Camp Hood, Texas, Pine Camp, New York and Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. During his training, on January 10, 1944, Newt qualified as an Expert with the Carbine.

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The unit departed from the New York port on June 24, 1943, aboard the Queen Mary and arrived in England on July 6th. They spent 11 months in additional training and the final preparations and staging at Portsmouth, in southern England, before boarding transports and landing at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, on June 13, 1944.

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They were equipped with M10 tank destroyers and helped capture St. Lô in July, before racing across northern France in August and passing through Belgium and Holland before reaching the Siegfried Line in September. The unit supported operations north of Aachen, Germany in October and then transferred to the Hürtgen Forest. Shifting to the Ardennes just before the German offensive began in December, they were committed against the Siegfried Line again in early 1945. Converting to M36 tank destroyers in February, they participated in the capture of Trier and crossed the Rhine River on March 23rd at Oppenheim. The 803rd joined the elimination of Ruhr Pocket in April and then pivoted, marching southeast through Austria and into Czechoslovakia.

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Newt returned to the U.S., aboard the Oneida Victory, sailing from LeHavre, France, on September 12th and was discharged on the 17th at Fort Dix, NJ, at the rank of Sergeant. He received credit for five campaigns, including Normandy, Northern France, the Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe. He was awarded the EAME, The American Defense Service and the Good Conduct Medals.

The photo above was probably taken after the war during occupational duty. The large counter-weight on the rear of the M36 turret can clearly be seen as well as a large amount of stowed materials hanging off the back of the TD.

Voyage Home Certificate

Honorable Discharge

Now back in the U.S., he involved himself in a variety of professions including entrepreneur, purchasing agent for Alaska Barge & Transport and a year in Singapore in the mid-sixties procuring supplies for the military during the Vietnam war. He also raised beef cattle, owned a country store and was later a district manager for Combined Insurance. On December 26, 1956, he married the former Marjorie Pauline McBride who was born in Laconia, Indiana, and was the daughter of Ward McBride and Ola Behrens. The new couple would make their home in California but his jobs and businesses would take the family to both Oregon and Washington as well.

The couple had one daughter, Jeri, born in 1961. In his spare time, Newt enjoyed watching sports, reading crime novels, ranching and bowling. Newt passed away on May 8, 1999, and was buried in Merced, CA. I want to thank Newt’s daughter for providing the information and photos for this tribute.