LTCOL Daniel Russell Fox,

Unknown Sailor

LTCOL Daniel Russell Fox

Lt. Col. Daniel R. Fox, a highly decorated WWI veteran, was the top Marine on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Mr. Fox was the division commander of BatDiv1 with oversight of Marines on three battleships — the Arizona, Nevada, and Pennsylvania – when he died on the flag ship’s signal bridge on Dec. 7, 1941.

He was born July 10, 1898 in North Coventry Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania to William Frank Fox, a laborer, and Catherine Reitnauer Fox, a homemaker. The second eldest of their 12 children, he enlisted in the Marines in September 1916.

He was serving in the Dominican Republic when the United States entered World War I. He was soon shipped to France and was wounded in the foot in the June 1918 Battle of Belleau Wood, one of the best remembered in Marine history.

That October, near St.-Étienne, he volunteered to carry messages across a battlefield swept by machine gun fire. He was shot in the back but remained on duty for four hours. For his extraordinary heroism, the sergeant was awarded the Navy Cross, the Army Distinguished Service Cross, and the French Croix de Guerre.

He and others were given their awards in a ceremony in the spring of 1919 attended by 20,000 men. “I guess I shall always remember it as being one of the greatest happenings of my life,” he wrote to his mother.

Mr. Fox went back to Pennsylvania after the war but returned to active duty in 1921 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He also married that year — to Elsie Wentzel of Pottstown, Pennsylvania. They had one child, Daniel R. Fox II, born in 1937.

Mr. Fox served elsewhere overseas, including in China when that country was at war with Japan. He earned a master’s degree at the Naval War College in 1940, then became the Marine division commander in Hawaii on the staff of Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, overall commander of the three battleships of which the Arizona was the flag ship.

Seventy-three out of 88 Marines on the Arizona were killed in the attack.


Sources: the Pottstown (Pennsylvania) Mercury; Military Times; Social Security death file; Pennsylvania application for veterans death benefit; National Parks Service; grave markers. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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