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Cox Engine of The Month
April-2021
fredvon4's

Finely polished Cox .049 with exhaust collector.




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Post  rsv1cox Tue Jan 05, 2021 4:07 pm

Coincidences to be sure.

My son found these items today at a local auction and traced the pilots name and history.  A Marine Corps Captain at the time the helmet was worn, later retired as a Colonel.  I recognize all of these items as we used them training aviators in our flight simulators. The NOTAM device that pilots strapped to their leg is special.

The coincidences are - He was my age and we were in the Navy at the exact same times.  He flew the A-4 Douglas SkyHawk a favorite of mine that pilots referred to as The Scooter.  He no doubt trained in our A-4 simulator while I was stationed at Oceana Virginia. He was stationed at the Naval Air Test Center (later the Naval Air Warfare Center) while I was there at Patuxent River Maryland.  I bought a house at Pax River from a Marine Corps Major who no doubt knew this person as Marine Corps aviators are a very small community.  He was an active outdoorsman and passed away not to far from my Son's home in March 2019 at age 82.  I may have met the guy.  All of these items were found in his flight bag to the left.


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Post  dckrsn Tue Jan 05, 2021 4:41 pm

Good Lord, Bob. What a time capsule! I would have
been pretty shaken to paw over that lot.
Life is Gooood!
Bob
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Post  NEW222 Tue Jan 05, 2021 7:28 pm

Nice gift as well as a great story to go along with it.
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Post  Kim Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:13 am

Heavy stuff there. Immediately makes me try to picture the sights and sounds of the time when it was work-a-day equipment...and the last time it was put away. A Shrine in a case.
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Post  getback Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:37 am

That's Wild the way it happen you were probably like minds of the same corps. Beer Cheers
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Post  rsv1cox Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:43 am

Yes, and I have been trying to figure this out.

He had three son's and there are personal things there, his hand written notes and his Dog Tags with his service number on it.  BTW his blood type was O, same as mine.    Who would ever let those things go......

He was no average fellow, a graduate of Princeton, a retired Marine Colonel, and a retired GS-15 at the highest level of Government service.  He was also an avid outdoorsman with credentials and Falconer.  His family history goes back to WW1 where his father was an aviator.  

Only thing I can rationalize is that they were gifted to a charity who then put the items in this local auction, albeit in very exclusive Clark county Virginia.  

Another coincidence, when in the Navy Mark serviced the avionics in the A6 Intruder, a successor to the A-4 that he flew.  Marine Corps pilots trained as Naval aviators before branching out.

These are very familiar to me. Dealt with them for almost 20 years. If you go about a mile to the left of the control tower there is a cement circle there where they would test the MAD gear on P2/P3v's. When not used my buddy and I flew our control line airplanes there. My treasured Nieuport 28 among them.

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Post  fredvon4 Wed Jan 06, 2021 9:12 am

did you mean...Knee Board to which a pilot might have flight plan/ schedule, IFF or other radio freq/codes, and various NOTAM
Notice to AirMen for departure and arrival airfields...
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Post  rsv1cox Wed Jan 06, 2021 10:27 am

@fredvon4 wrote:did you mean...Knee Board to which a pilot might have flight plan/ schedule,  IFF or other radio freq/codes, and various NOTAM
Notice to AirMen for departure and arrival airfields...

Yes, one in the same.  Kim would know about them also.

This get's even deeper.  Mark is excellent at internet research.  

This fellow attended the Naval War College at Newport Rhode Island while I was there, and his father was the first Commanding Officer at Pax River when It was established in 1942 and retired as an Admiral.  His father in law was a hero in WW2 and retired as a General.  Coincidently both family's shared the last name with only one letter different.  

And, I haven't even gotten into describing the helmet yet which has special features specific to certain missions.  

If you haven't noticed, in todays world your life is an open book.  Privacy went out the window when Al Gore Smile  invented the internet.

And, I should spell out my abbreviations, not everyone was in the military.

MAD = magnetic anomaly detection
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Post  Cribbs74 Wed Jan 06, 2021 10:50 am

Bob,

Have you considered trying to contact one of the sons? You never know the circumstances surrounding his estate once he passed.
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Post  rsv1cox Wed Jan 06, 2021 12:08 pm

@Cribbs74 wrote:Bob,

Have you considered trying to contact one of the sons? You never know the circumstances surrounding his estate once he passed.

Mark is investigating it, but I have cautioned him that the conversation could be awkward.  All three are commissioned officers and I have no idea how they would let these items get away unless they were stolen.  They have a value well beyond the monetary which is substantial.  In the interim, they have not found a better steward than Mark. He has a reverence for these things.

There is a ready market for military memorabilia, so how did they find a way to an auction house with no reserve.  What Mark's winning bid was would amaze you.  Think a really abused Cox Babe Bee.

My thrill is a trip down memory lane, and the thought that I probably passed this fellow a number of times. I also fantasize that he is in the cockpit of one of those four A4's pictured in formation above. And, he could have been.
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Post  Cribbs74 Wed Jan 06, 2021 6:19 pm

You never know. Sometimes families don’t really get along and things become meaningless to them. For the price paid it wouldn’t be much of a loss to get them back to that family if it was something they had wanted.

I can’t see the conversation being too awkward. It’s either wanted or not and if stolen it certainly wasn’t Mark who did it. Besides thieves generally don’t search out folks to return stolen items to their rightful place.

Also something you and I both know. All of those items were issued items and as such would have to be returned once they were no longer being used. It’s quite possible they were returned back to supply when the Captain PCS’d and sent to DRMO. After that they could have went anywhere eventually ending up in a local auction.
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Post  944_Jim Wed Jan 06, 2021 7:07 pm

Ah, but if the man retired out, his helmet may have been handed to him...especially if the helmet wasn't current. My FIL still has the last helmet he wore flying in th USAF, and still fits in his orange "see me in the drink" flight suit (think Cuban Missile Crisis era).

While my career isn't as illustrious as most combat pilots, I'm still reducing the evidence of my enlistment through the decades...obsolete uniforms, field gear, etcetera.
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Post  Cribbs74 Wed Jan 06, 2021 9:34 pm

Bob mentioned he wore the helmet as a Captain and retired as a Colonel so unless he was field promoted from Captain to full bird Col bypassing Maj and Lt. Col then I don’t think it was a parting gift. It is quite possible he kept all that stuff. I was just speculating, seems plausible he turned in his flyers bag when he was moving to his next assignment. Bob says he is finding out the rest of the story.
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Post  944_Jim Wed Jan 06, 2021 10:02 pm

Ron,
I'm too am interested in what the connections are, and if the family cares about the stuff. I know my wife's family (well, her dad anyway) places a lot of stock on trinkets such as this stuff. Her mother, on the other hand, has declared "dumpster day" should she outlive my FIL.
At some point my wife and I will have to make some decisions like that, and I doubt there will be much market for the stuff. That's why a lot of my "military leftovers" are slowly working their way to the ArmyNavy store a town over, or into the trash. I'm keeping my dress uniform for my last outfit. My will indicates Dress Uniform, Cremate, Taps, and return to float in the Charles River in Boston one more time (the summers of my youth were spent sailing on it). There is no way to split the medals between my two boys anyway. We hang onto entirely too much stuff, and I don't want to burden the boys with it later.
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Post  Cribbs74 Thu Jan 07, 2021 12:01 am

I don’t know how other branches of the service do things, but in the USAF we are given a shadow box upon retirement. Inside we place items that have meaning to us while we served. I will probably will mine to my son and the only uniform items I kept are my service uniform. A couple duty uniforms and a couple field jackets and cold weather gear. Everything else went in the bin or given to guys still serving. Perhaps you could put together something that can be easily passed around and hung on a wall to commemorate your time in the service.

Ron
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Post  Oldenginerod Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:07 am

@944_Jim wrote: Her mother, on the other hand, has declared "dumpster day" should she outlive my FIL.

Yep, sounds like my wife Laughing Remember the old saying, "I only hope she doesn't sell my stuf for what I told her I paid for it."

It's tough to know what to do with some "special" stuff. When my mother in law passed away, everything was left to my wife and her sister. "Dividing the plunder" was a very difficult task due to a very toxic relationship between them. Sadly, my FIL's service medals stayed with the sister, who is not sentimental at all about that kind of stuff. My sons would love some mementos of their Pa but my wife is willing to sacrifice all that in favour of not having to deal with her sister ever again.

Another tough one was the Air Force flag which draped my brother's coffin. It was presented to his widow but she wanted no reminders and it was shoved away in a cupboard. I rescued it after she also passed, but I really don't know what to do with it. It's still folded axactly as was done as he was interred. What to do?? Display it, lock it away? I just can't decide.
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Post  Cribbs74 Thu Jan 07, 2021 10:45 pm

I decided to post this for Jim and Rod at the expense of another hi-jack. I have attached a picture of my shadowbox, Jim this is what I was talking about, trinkets of memorabilia from your time in service. Hang it on a wall and it’s out of the way.

Rod, if you look closely at the box in the photo you will notice a folded flag in the upper portion. They make singular triangle boxes with glass tops for just that purpose. Lay the flag in it and put a little plaque on it with your brothers name and dates of service.

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Post  rsv1cox Fri Jan 08, 2021 12:12 pm

Not a hijack Ron, Just an expansion.

I was what the Navy called a TraDevMan - Training Devices Man, TD for short - I was more precisely a TD(U) Aviation instructor. The rate was established in 1948 and retired in 1989 shortly after I retired and joined the Federal Civil Service where I did essentially the same thing for another 18 years finally retiring as a GS-12.

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Curious, I looked up Navy rates that were retired and TD was not alone. Among them were Coal Shoveler, and Pigeon Trainer.
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Post  Cribbs74 Fri Jan 08, 2021 12:39 pm

Pigeon trainer sounds like a fun job. I’m being serious, that would have been rewarding.
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Post  rsv1cox Fri Jan 08, 2021 12:56 pm

I just reread Jim's and Rod's comments.

I guess it just depends.  When my wife passed I divided most of her jewelry into three lots and gave them to my two daughters and my DIL.  What I didn't give up were our class rings (we graduated from HS together), and the first ring I ever gave her.  Tough to let them go.  The girls adored their mother and were happy to receive them.  

Mark wants the American flag presented to me when I retired and most of my military mementoes that I have squirrelled away.  Mark is the families historian tracing our heritage back to the early 1750's.  Other that that I imagine there is going to be one whale of a garage sale.  

I'm quite familiar with the Charles river Jim, my family is from Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

I have found the younger son, a lawyer in Houston Texas and emailed him with the particulars but I have yet to hear from him.  His father as mentioned was an avid outdoorsman and a Falconer, and he named him after a Falcon. His father died on my brothers birthday March 25th.  After a long fight with Parkinson's I lost my brother three weeks ago at age 87.
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Post  rsv1cox Fri Jan 08, 2021 6:38 pm

@Cribbs74 wrote:Bob mentioned he wore the helmet as a Captain and retired as a Colonel so unless he was field promoted from Captain to full bird Col bypassing Maj and Lt. Col then I don’t think it was a parting gift. It is quite possible he kept all that stuff.  I was just speculating, seems plausible he turned in his flyers bag when he was moving to his next assignment. Bob says he is finding out the rest of the story.

New information.

He left the Marine Corps after nine years active duty and joined the reserves retiring as a full bird Colonel.  Then joined the Federal civil service.    

Still, no word from the son, but acknowledgement by the law firm in which he is a partner was received.

If I can figure out how to do it, I think I'm going to change my avatar picture to the computer generated picture (above) of that A-4 taking off.

Love that picture.
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