When I interviewed Lt. Gen. Kendall Cox following the Killeen Memorial Day Ceremony last month, he got a little choked up talking about soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
I could tell he was talking from the heart and from his own experiences as a combat commander. He’s an emotional guy, and I respect that. Most officers I’ve met are pretty straight-to-the-point and confident, but they seldom let their emotions show.
Cox, 57, seems to wear his heart on his sleeve, and I’ve seen photos of him offering warm embraces to soldiers being honored or awarded medals.
Last Friday, I attended his retirement ceremony in front of 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters. He got a little choked up then, too, especially when he talked about his wife, Anna Marie Cox, and his other family members who have supported him during his 36-year Army career.
That career is now at an end, but Cox and his wife won’t be leaving the area.
The couple will reside in Harker Heights, and Cox will start his new position as executive director of the Killeen-based Heart of Texas Defense Alliance on July 1.
The alliance is a research firm that keeps tabs on government moves at Fort Hood. Such research and information is vital to city governments and others in the area who rely so much on Fort Hood for economic and other reasons.
Cox mentioned the job in his retirement ceremony Friday: “I look forward to working with you in my next job as the executive director of the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance.”
Whenever an Army general decides to retire in Central Texas, that’s a huge thing for the Killeen-Fort Hood community.
Not only are we getting a new resident, we’re getting a highly educated, longtime professional who knows more about the Army than most people will ever know.
The retired generals I know in this area are all active in the community and give back in a number of ways.
With Cox, I get the feeling he really cares about what he does, especially when it comes to caring for soldiers, family members and others in this community.
In other words, the Cox family — now on the civilian side of things — is going to fit right in to the Killeen-Fort Hood area.
And we’re lucky to have them.