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[b]Dale William Cox Jr. '43[/b]
Captain Dale W. Cox Jr., USN (Ret.), passed away on 25 June 2013 at his Palos Verdes, CA, home with his family at his side.
Born on 17 December 1920 in Spokane, WA, he attended Beverly Hills High School and then the U.S. Naval Academy. In 1942, shortly after being crowned NCAA gymnastics champion, he graduated and was ordered to St. Louis (CL-49).
After installation of radars, the ship departed for the Pacific, arriving in December 1942 to join the Battle of Guadalcanal. In 1943, St. Louis was torpedoed at Kolumbangara. Repaired at Mare Island, St. Louis returned to the Pacific supporting the 3rd Marine Division's landing on Bougainville Island. There, the ship was hit by Japanese dive bombers, killing 26.
In March 1944, he was ordered to the new carrier, Shangri-La (CV-38). After shakedown, the carrier was in the Pacific in early 1945. On 25 April, Shangri-La's air group led an attack on islands south of Okinawa. In early June, Shangri-La and three other carriers made a three-day sustained attack on Tokyo.
Two days after Hiroshima, he was transferred via high-line to a destroyer and was dumped on Iwo Jima. Captain Tyrone Powers, USMC, piloted the plane that took him and a USO troupe, including Maureen O'Hara, to Saipan. From there, he flew to flight training at Texas, receiving his Wings in December 1946.
In 1949, he received orders to postgraduate school and graduated from Cal Tech in 1952. He was then ordered to a squadron at Barbers Point, HI. Deployed to Kadena AFB on Okinawa during the Korean War, he piloted a photo-recon plane for the CIA.
Returning to Hawaii in 1954, he received orders to Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, MD.
In 1957, he piloted a A3D to two Federation Aeronautique Internationale transcontinental speed records, LA-NY-LA and NY-LA.
In 1959, he was one of 32 candidates for the Mercury astronaut program.
In 1961, as naval test director at Mercury, NV, he was ordered to personally take possession of a nuclear weapon and "expand same" ("Johnnie Boy" event).
He retired from the Navy in 1962 and went to work for the CIA. In 1970, he started his own company, Western Magnum. Retiring in 2009, he took up writing and finished three books.
He is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Patricia; three sons, Brian, Dale III and Gary; daughter, Penelope; and six grandchildren.
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