SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --
Stewart G. Cox, 4th Mission Support Group civilian deputy commander, retired during a ceremony, June 22, 2017, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Cox joined the Air Force to follow in the footsteps of his family members and serve the country.
“My Dad, my uncles and my father-in-law were World War II veterans,” said Cox. “They seemed to have done the right thing and I wanted to do something similar to that.”
Cox retired from active duty Air Force after serving 27 years on active duty. After retiring, Cox returned to Seymour Johnson AFB as a civilian employee for another 13 years.
In 2005, the Air Force underwent a Base Realignment and Closure process. Cox was the 4th Fighter Wing lead for the project. Cox had experience with BRAC from his time working in the office of the Secretary of Defense.
“As a result of his efforts, Seymour Johnson AFB was ranked Best Installation in the Air Force,” said Dennis G. Goodson, 4th Civil Engineer Squadron deputy base engineer. “I would attribute that to Mr. Cox’s persistence insisting all of the answers being accurate and auditable.”
Cox, a North Carolina native, was stationed in California, South Dakota, Arizona, Germany and the Pentagon, but said it was a dream come true to have the opportunity to return to North Carolina for his final duty station.
“I was born and raised about 25 miles south of Seymour Johnson AFB. When I retired and was able to come back to work as a civilian, it really was a dream come true.”
Cox’s high school sweetheart and wife, Alice H. Cox, was also excited to return to Seymour Johnson AFB.
“My father retired here when I was a little girl. I grew up here,” said Cox’s Wife. “Stu and I were gone for 20 years and when we had the chance to come back, it was like coming home.”
Cox’s family and friends attended his retirement ceremony where he was presented the Outstanding Civilian Career Service Award, a certificate of service and a handmade wooden American Flag.
During his retirement speech, Cox highlighted five people who greatly influenced his Air Force career.
“There are a lot of people who mentored me along the way,” said Cox. “A couple of the wing commanders stick out to me, Gen. Holmes, he was actually the wing commander who hired me as a civilian.”
Not only has Cox been mentored in his Air Force career, he passed on his knowledge to new Airmen.
“Mr. Cox would always say ‘you may come across challenges within your career, but conquer them with strength, courage and confidence,” said Senior Airman Kaivone O. Williams, 4th MSG executive administrative support.
Williams added the support she received from Cox has inspired her to be persistent and dedicated to achieving her goals.
Cox’s post retirement plans include traveling and spending time with his family.
“My wife and I are doing some traveling. I started hiking the Appalachian Trail years ago, I’d like to finish it.”
Cox added he and his wife exchanged vacations as their retirement gifts to each other.
“Starting this July, we are planning a vacation to the beach,” said Alice “We also plan on visiting South Dakota. We want go back and celebrate the 40th anniversary of our first assignment and relive all of the places we used to enjoy.”
Cox added he will miss the military, but can’t wait to spend more time with family and his grandson.
“I spent a lot of time in the military,” said Cox. “It’s been a great ride.”