Summary

Conflict Period:
World War II 1
Branch:
Army 1
Birth:
1920 1
Virginia 1
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Personal Details

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Person:
Robert A Cox 1
Level of Education: 2 years of college 1
Marital Status: Single, without dependents 1
Birth:
1920 1
Virginia 1
Residence:
Place: Goochland County, Virginia 1
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World War II 1

Branch:
Army 1
Service End Date:
08 Feb 1943 2
Enlistment Date:
05 Nov 1941 1
Army Branch:
Air Corps 1
Army Component:
Regular Army (including Officers, Nurses, Warrant Officers, and Enlisted Men) 1
Army Serial Number:
13020147 1
Enlistment Place:
Langley Field Virginia 1
Source of Army Personnel:
Civil Life 1
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Occupation:
Farm hands, dairy 1
Race or Ethnicity:
White 1
Source Information:
Box Number: 0115 1
Film Reel Number: 1.115 1

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Lt Robert A Cox, 310th Bomb Group KIA 8 Feb.1943

North Africa

Robert A. Cox First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces Service # O-790523 381st Bomber Squadron, 310th Bomber Group, Medium Entered the Service from: Virginia
Died: 8-Feb-43
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at North Africa American Cemetery
Carthage, Tunisia

Awards: Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters AUS # 13020147

Resided in Grason, VA, Entered at Lanfley Field, VA. on 1 May, 1941 as an Aviation Cadet.  He was born in VA in 1920, attended 2 years of college, was a farm hand/dairy, single at enlistment, white and citizen.

310thBG,381stBS, Lt Robert A Cox, Pilot KIA

Robert A. Cox
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # O-790523
381st Bomber Squadron, 310th Bomber Group, Medium
Entered the Service from: Virginia
Died: 8-Feb-43
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at North Africa American Cemetery
Carthage, Tunisia
Awards: Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters

381st BS:  Extracts from Missing Air Crew Report # 14584:                          

           

  A/C No.  41-13073 “VAR ARIEN” (M) (MACR-14584 - shot down) P Cox, Robert A., 1Lt - DED CP Szczygiel, Joseph F., 2Lt - DED N None B McHarge, James Hayes, T/Sgt - DED E None R Brink, Robert W., S/Sgt - DED G Windham, Duke Green, Jr., S/Sgt - DED *********************************** A TRIBUTE to Lt Robert Cox' by his Bombardier, James McHarge.

McHARGE POEM, “MY PILOT”, SENT TO HIS MOTHER

ASHEVILLE MAN AND HIS SKIPPER MISSING IN NORTH AFRICA

 

            A poem written by T/Sgt. James H. McHarge, reported missing in action on the North African front, was sent to his mother, Mrs. J.H. McHarge of 21 Cumberland Ave, by Mrs. A.R. Cox of Fox, Virginia, whose son, Lieutenant Robert Cox, was reported missing at the same time as Sergeant McHarge.

            Sergeant McHarge wrote the poem “My Pilot”, as a tribute to Lieutenant Cox, pilot of the B-25 bomber on which Sergeant McHarge was bombardier.  Their plane failed to return from a mission last February 8.

            Sergeant McHarge volunteered for service in the Army on December 8, 1941 and trained at Sheppard Field, Texas; Santa Monica, California; Walterboro, South Carolina and Columbia, South Carolina before going overseas in November 1942.  He was a graduate of Lee Edwards High School in 1937 and at the time he entered the Service, was employed at Harry’s Motor Inn.

My Pilot

 

Yes, he’s the leader of the crew

It’s up to him to get us through

If all goes well, we each get back

We rush to Intelligence to joke and wisecrack.

 

Yet off by himself, looking very grim

Is my pilot who flew the ship they couldn’t trim

He says nothing to none of the rest

If we hadn’t got back, he’d still done his best.

 

The crew, like myself, has never realized

Or been responsible for six other lives

If Fate must have it, and one must get shot

God, let it be me, but save my Pilot.

1LT Robert Aris Cox ~KIA~ 08 February 1943

1LT Robert Aris Cox was a Pilot; with the 310th Bombardment Group; 381st Bombardment Squadron; Stationed in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, (MTO).

His Hometown was Independence, Grayson County, Virginia.

Monday, 8 February 1943

381st BS War Diary: (No non-mission information)

381st BS Mission Summary: (Ops Order ---/mission ---)
Group Mission # 40: GABES AIR DROME
Sqdrn. Mission # 23
Flight 18 B-25’s
Escort 18 P-38’s
Take Off 11:00
Bomb Load: (13 x 120) Frags.
Target 12:30
Bombs Dropped: 3(12 x 120). 4,360#
Down 14:25
Total Time: 3 Hrs. 25 Min.
Weather: CAVU.
Remarks: Approximately (204 x 120), or 24,480# of frag bombs were dropped in the target area by the flight, causing fires and much destruction. Seven or more ME-109-E’s and F’s were shot down, one by Sgt Hughes. Lt. Jackson observed this ME-109-E go down and crash N.W. of the target.

Flak: Heavy and light, very intense and accurate was encountered in the target area. It caused much damage to our aircraft. 25-30 Enemy A/C attacked, diving and climbing through our formation.

The mission was coordinated with 16 B-26’s. Lt. Linden’s ship was riddled with machine gun, cannon and flak holes. He made an excellent crash landing at Berteaux. Four of our A/C, including those of Lt. Crump and Lt. Cox failed to return.

381st BS: Extracts from Missing Air Crew Report # ?: (MACR not available)

A/C B-25; Serial No. 41-13084 “Dis'n Did't” (MACR-? - shot down) (K)
P Crump, Walter P. “Bitsy”, 1Lt - MIA; FOD: KIA; O-427308; Irving, Dallas County, TX
CP Froelicher, Peter R., 2Lt - MIA; FOD; KIA; 0-791686; South Norwalk, Fairfield Co. CT
N Gollnitz, Frederick C., 1Lt - MIA; FOD; KIA; O-790952; Chautauqua Co. NY
B Wilson, Francis E., 1Lt - KIA;FOD; KIA; 0-662326; Wheatland; Platte Co., WY
E None
R Larck, Buster A., T/Sgt - MIA; FOD; KIA; 6988296; Kanawha Co., WV
G Massengale, Jack T., S/Sgt - MIA; FOD; KIA; 18053202; Okmulgee Co., OK
F None

381st BS: Extracts from Missing Air Crew Report # 14584:
A/C B-25; Serial No. 41-13073 “VAR ARIEN” (M) (MACR-14584 - shot down)

P Cox, Robert Aris, 1Lt; Independence, Grayson Co., VA; - DED
CP Szczygiel, Joseph F., 2Lt - DED
N None
B McHarge, James Hayes, T/Sgt - DED
E None R Brink, Robert W., S/Sgt - DED
G Windham, Duke Green, Jr., S/Sgt - DED
F None

4 June 1945 Records this Headquarters indicate above mentioned personnel KIA, 8 February 1943, as result of plane crash. Place last sighted: 33° 58’ N., 9° 53’ E. (Tunisia). MACR # 14584. Co-ordinates given in this report as to the site where the aircraft was last seen are only approximate as a number of aircraft went down at this time and none were positively identified as to the exact spot each went down. No search was made at this time because the aircraft went down in enemy territory. No information other than given in this report is available at this base

381st BS Special Account:
“GABES” Mission Narrative by Lt. Eric O. Linden - Pilot

The “Gabes Mission” proved to be the first major set-back for the 381st Squadron and our Group. It was the Squadron’s 23rd mission and the Groups’ 40th.

We, being briefed on the Gabes airdrome, set out to add another “Sunday punch” to the Jerries. Prior to this raid we had lost no men and only one ship. Consequently this was just another raid to us.

This Gabes mission was different to all of us in that we were to use “B-26” tactics instead of our own “hit and run” method.

Eighteen B-25’s took off at 11:00 hours escorted by 18 P-38’s. This being a coordinating attack with B-26’s we followed them to the target. Enroute 4 P-38’s and 3B-26’s returned to their base due to mechanical difficulties. Our approach to the target was made at 11,000 feet. A full 20 minutes before we were over the target we could see Rommel’s fighters; of the famous “Yellow-Nose Squadron”, we found out later; stirring up streaks of dust on the desert as they took off to meet our attack. There were between 30 and 50 Jerries to great us and they were quite unwelcome. Considering that we had only 14 P-38’s as escort for our 33 bombers, we had little defense except our own guns. From this point I will relate my own personal experience. We were flying in “POTCHA-GALOOP” received a direct hit in the bomb bay. Because of this we had to salvo the 12 racks of our fragmentation bombs. We also lost our hydraulic system due to this hit. As we left the target Lt. Crump’s ship was also badly hit. He made a steep right bank and “peeled off” from the formation with Lt. Cox going along with him. At this time I was above “Bitsy” and he and Lt. Cox passed under our ship. It was the last time I saw either ship. I held my position on Capt. Allen’s flight and turned out to be “tail end Charlie”. All hell broke loose as one fighter after another made passes at “POTCH-A-GALOOP”. During these attacks we lost our air speed indicators, emergency landing mechanism, and the lower turret was put out of commission. One Jerry paid the price for this damage by coming within range of S/Sgt. Hughes’ guns. A few seconds later these guns became inoperative too.

One scare and close call was when, on the way home, a flak fragment shattered my left window but failed to penetrate the glass. By now we knew we had lost two of our other planes, piloted by our friends in the 380th Squadron, Lt. Lacy and Lt. Barnwell.

Upon reaching the field, we radioed our difficulties to Capt. Allan, in the lead ship. He acted as our air speed indicator while we attempted to lower our landing gear manually--but our wheels just wouldn’t lock down--and again as we made our approach. At about 20 feet we leveled out and cut all switches. The next I know we were out of our ships and away in a hell of a hurry, fearing the ship might catch fire. The most pleasing news was that none of the crew had been hurt at all. That mission was our 14th and “POTCH-A-GALOOP’S” last.

Much credit for the ship’s safe return is due T/Sgt. Porter and his maintenance crew.

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