Like A Brick Wall Falling On You All At Once: A Judge Reflects on West Point, Vietnam, and His Career

Ronald E. Cox


Judge Ron Cox, USMA ‘66, came to West Point in 1962 because of the opportunities it provided, and because of the positive experience he had with JROTC in high school in Hawaii. His West Point experience was a positive one, and he felt that he fit in well with his classmates, even though he was one of just three African-Americans in the Class of ‘66. After Ranger and Airborne School, his first assignment was Germany. While there, he was deeply affected by Martin Luther King’s assassination, and he defended a Soldier who organized a march to remember Dr. King. After Germany, he deployed to Vietnam and spent a year in the 25th Infantry Division, both outside Saigon and on the border of Cambodia. While in a combat unit in Vietnam, he experienced very little racism, but became disillusioned with the war, resigned his commission shortly after returning home. He then attended law school in Washington, becoming first a lawyer and then a judge. In this interview, Judge Cox discusses his experiences at West Point and in the Army. He analyzes what it meant to be a black man at West Point, in the Army, and in the legal profession. Finally, he addresses the importance of West Point and what it has meant to him for the past 50 years.


name Ronald E. Cox
institution USMA
graduation year 1966
service Armor
unit 2/32 Armor; 4/23 IN, 25th ID RVN
service dates 1966 1970