By Staff Sgt. Jim Tortolano
A Soldier should always look like a Soldier, but even more importantly, live up to the Army values of duty, honor and selfless service.
Spec. Kevin Cox of the California State Military Reserve, honored this week as Soldier of the Year for the CSMR, is not only is about as squared away as you can get, his quick actions may have saved the life of a traffic accident victim.
Cox, 24, currently attached to the Second Brigade of Second Battalion, State Military Police, joined the CSMR in September 2011 after a chance discovery of the state defense force’s existence.
“I stumbled upon it online,” he said. “It really intrigued me. I’ve always felt a sense of duty to my country.”
He threw himself into his new role as a state Soldier with gusto. “I have always given a lot of attention to my appearance [in uniform),” he said. “Every drill and duty day, I spend at least an hour and a half seeing that it’s perfect, even to the point where I use a ruler to make sure all the badges and patches in the exactly the right place.”
It’s a habit of perfection he learned as a teenager by participating in the Marine Corps Devil Pup program.
But Cox isn’t just a garrison trooper who looks good but can’t act in a crisis. On March 17, 2012, in Laguna Niguel, Cox came upon a traffic accident where a man was trapped in a crushed car. The motorist was suffering from severe shock, cuts, a broken leg and collarbone and a mangled foot.
Cox treated the man for shock and his injuries, helping to stabilize his condition until further medical care could arrive. His actions were credited with helping to save the man’s life.
A resident of Vista in San Diego County, Cox is a full-time student at Kaplan University, seeking to become a registered nurse. At the same time, he’s keeping his options open, seeking admission to police academies in the area.
His versatility, appearance and performance inside and outside the CSMR have attracted attention. “I’m greatly impressed by his positive attitude to serve in both the military and civilian communities,” said Command Sgt. Major (CA) Ivor Burton.
“He takes great pride in his appearance, positive attitude and sets the example for others,” added Burton.
Cox was honored at a banquet on Jan. 12 at the Crown Plaza Resort in Garden Grove.
Recognition from your comrades in the military is important, but so is the approval of loved ones. “My family is really supportive of what I’m doing in the CSMR,” said Cox. “My girlfriend says she’s really proud of me.” There’s an honor that can rank right up there with being Soldier of the Year.