Marine Pfc. Ryan R. Cox

Marine Pfc. Ryan R. Cox

Died June 15, 2003 serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom

19, of Derby, Kan.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; died June 15 as a result of wounds received from a non-combat weapon discharge near Najaf, Iraq.

Family, friends react to bad news from Iraq
Associated Press

DERBY, Kan. — Robin Hamilton didn’t try to ease into the bad news. The simple truth was that her son, Ryan Cox, wouldn’t be coming back to Derby from Iraq.
“She just flat out told me that Ryan’s not coming home — those were her words,’’ said Ryan Cox’s friend, Aaron Norton. “It hit me like lead. There was a silence, like 20 seconds.’’ Hamilton said her 19-year-old son enlisted in the Marine Corps for its structure, fun and a view of the world. She said she is comforted because those visions came true. Cox was able to surf and sky dive in California when he wasn’t busy with boot camp or training. On his way to Iraq, he sent a postcard from Ireland. And once he was in Iraq, he saw a bustling Baghdad and ancient Babylon.
“He probably did more and saw more than most high school graduates,’’ Hamilton said.
But on June 15, the Department of Defense said, Cox was killed by a “non-combat weapons discharge.’’ Cox’s stepmother, Deborah Cox, said she has heard little from the military “We haven’t heard a lot,’’ Deborah Cox said. “All we know is that he was thought to have been caught in friendly fire.’’ Ryan Cox, a private first class, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division out of the Air-Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif. “I’m sure whatever happened over there, his group is just sick about it,’’ Hamilton said. “That’s the way the Marines are.’’
Hamilton said she last spoke with her son on Thursday morning. “He sounded fine,’’ she said. “He sounded like he was doing his job he was trained to do.’’ Hamilton said she had no reason to be angry about her son’s death. A high school hurdler, he had joined the Marines with hopes of deployment in Iraq “He was doing what he wanted to do,’’ she said. “He was serving his country. I couldn’t have asked for a better son.’’
Norton, who had known Cox since preschool, said he had been finding items that reminded him of his friend. The two had spent years together in class and played in the snow and shot BB guns after school was out.
“He was like a brother,’’ Norton said.

Leave a Comment