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Army Staff Sgt. Nathan M. Cox

Died September 20, 2008 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


32, of Walcott, Iowa; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died Sept. 20 in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Pvt. Joseph F. Gonzales.

Soldier from Iowa dies in Afghanistan

The Associated Press

A soldier from Iowa has been killed in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan, his mother said Monday.

Staff Sgt. Nathan Cox, 32, of Davenport died Saturday in the Korengal Valley, said his mother, Jane Cox of Walcott.

He was in a vehicle that hit a roadside bomb, she said. Jane Cox said she did not yet have any other details about the incident.

The Department of Defense on Monday said Cox and one other soldier, Pvt. Joseph Gonzales, 18, of Tucson, Ariz., died when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

Cox is the 68th person with Iowa ties to die in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2003.

“I think Afghanistan is a dangerous spot, and the valley he was in was the most dangerous because it’s the furthest outpost,” Jane Cox said. “I hold on to the thought that they put him there because they knew what a good soldier he was. It might not be true at all, but I guess I have to hold to that.”

She said her son wanted to do something with the Foreign Service and traveling and chose the Army “to use his talents.”

Nathan Cox was a member of Viper Company, 1st Battalion from Fort Hood, Texas. He was deployed to Afghanistan in July.

Cox attended Davenport Central High School. He then joined the Army and served three years in Bosnia in the mid-1990s. He rejoined the Army when he was 29 and made it a career, his mother said. He served a year in Iraq before he was sent to Afghanistan.

Jane Cox said she and Nathan’s father, Leslie Cox, last saw their son in June as he was preparing to leave.

“He was so good with his young men,” she said. “He’d say 'Mom, they’re so young and they’re away from home for the first time.’”

She said her son finally embraced “his gift of being a leader.”

“He’d run with guys on his own time that needed to lose a little weight,” she said.

“He’d take the time to talk to guys who had broken up with their girlfriends or something. Everybody was at their house all the time.”

Cox is survived by his wife, Annie, and daughter, Sophia, 5.

Jane Cox said her daughter-in-law told her about “the most beautiful letter” Nathan Cox had written to his daughter.

“It’s very much Nathan. He talks about what it looks like there, how the sky wraps around you, about the monkeys. Then he talks about that he does things that a lot of daddies don’t do, but he’ll be home,” she said.

Funeral details have not been announced.


Army Staff Sgt. Nathan M. Cox remembered

The Associated Press

Nathan M. Cox was known to care about his men, knowing they were young and away from home for the first time.

“He’d run with guys on his own time that needed to lose a little weight. He’d take the time to talk to guys who had broken up with their girlfriends or something. Everybody was at their house all the time,” said his mother, Jane Cox.

Cox, 32, of Walcott, Iowa, was killed Sept. 20 when his vehicle struck an explosive in Korengal Valley. He was assigned to Fort Hood.

Cox entered the Army and served three years in Bosnia in the mid-1990s before deciding at 29 to re-enter the Army and make it his career. He served a year in Iraq before his Afghanistan deployment.

“He was very special,” said his mother. “He was an amazing young man who had so much time left.”

One reason Cox rejoined was so he could explore new places. Jane Cox said that’s why he liked describing the countries where he was stationed. “He’s very, very interested in foreign affairs,” Cox said. “He said the country was beautiful over there.”

Cox is survived by his wife, Annie, and 5-year-old daughter, Sophia.

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