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GI Joe WWII Liberators First Lt. John Fox, Congressional Medal Of Honor recipient Review
by Rudy Panucci

Hasbro continues its line of action figures based on real-life heroes who have been awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor with a depiction of First Lt. John Fox.

In honor of his selfless efforts during World War II, First Lieutenant John R. Fox will be recognized this month by Hasbro's G.I. JOE with the release of a 12'' G.I. JOE action figure in his likeness. Fox was among the first group of African-Americans posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Bill Clinton in 1997 for sacrificing his own life to save the lives of his fellow infantrymen. Caught in a surprise attack, Fox radioed to his comrades to have the artillery fire aimed toward his position so that his division could escape.

The John Fox G.I. JOE figure, available in-store this month, is the latest in a series that commemorates Medal of Honor recipients including Audie Murphy, Douglas MacArthur and Jimmy Doolittle.

"Lieutenant John Fox was a soldier who put the lives of his own infantry before his own, epitomizing the word 'hero', said Todd Rywolt, Vice President of Marketing for Hasbro's G.I. JOE brand. "The G.I. JOE brand honors both the famous and lesser-known heroes in our Medal of Honor collection and we are proud to commemorate Lieutenant Fox's courage and exemplary commitment to his fellow man and country."

The Lieutenant John R. Fox action figure is outfitted with a very detailed combat uniform, carbine with removable clip, binoculars, a highly-detailed radio with antenna (which is unique to this set), radio carrying pack, and detailed combat boots and a Lt.'s helmet. This set features the super-articulated GI Joe body with Gung-Ho grip, and will retail for approximately $19.99.

For more on First Lieutenant John R. Fox, we go to the box copy:

"The 92nd Infantry Division, known as the Buffalo Soldiers, was an African-American division that fought in World War II. One of the division's soldiers, First Lieutenant John R. Fox of the 366th U.S. Infantry Regiment, made the ultimate sacrifice in order to defeat the enemy and save the lives of his fellow soldiers. In December 1944, Fox was part of a small forward observer party that volunteered to stay behind in the Italian village of Sommocolonia. American forces had been forced to withdraw from the village after the enemy had overrun it. From his position on the second floor of a house, Fox radioed in to have the artillery fire adjusted closer to his position, then radioed again to have the shelling moved even closer. The soldier receiving the message was stunned, for that would bring the deadly fire right on top of Fox's position; there was no way he would survive. After the units had retaken the village, they found Fox's body along with the bodies of about one hundred enemy soldiers. For this extraordinary act of great heroism and selfless disregard for his own safety, John R. Fox was awarded the distinguished Medal of Honor. "

This is a top-flight figure. The detailing on the uniform and accessories is state-of-the-art, and the suggested price is a very reasonable twenty dollars. A comparable figure from one of the high- detail manufacturers would cost twice that much. While photos of the real John Robert Fox are a little hard to come by, the pictures that I've found show that Hasbro's sculptors have produced a remarkable likeness of this American hero.

And we have to pass kudos on to Hasbro for having the guts to produce an African-American figure in this deluxe line, when sadly, even in this day and age, there is retailer resistance to African-American action figures in some parts of the country. I fear that this wonderful figure may not get the wide exposure that it deserves. Some collectors may have to resort to using online dealers to procure this fine addition to the Medal Of Honor line. With the heroic story behind the real person, and the classy job that Hasbro has done in portraying him in GI Joe form, we give this action figure our highest recommendation. It succeeds as a tribute to a great American hero, a fine observance of Black History Month, and a top-of-the-line action figure.

We bring you the Congressional Medal Of Honor citation, below:

First Lieutenant John R. Fox General Order: Citation: For extraordinary heroism against an armed enemy in the vicinity of Sommocolonia, Italy on 26 December 1944, while serving as a member of Cannon Company, 366th Infantry Regiment, 92d Infantry Division. During the preceding few weeks, Lieutenant Fox served with the 598th Field Artillery Battalion as a forward observer. On Christmas night, enemy soldiers gradually infiltrated the town of Sommocolonia in civilian clothes, and by early morning the town was largely in hostile hands. Commencing with a heavy barrage of enemy artillery at 0400 hours on 26 December 1944, an organized attack by uniformed German units began. Being greatly outnumbered, most of the United States Infantry forces were forced to withdraw from the town, but Lieutenant Fox and some other members of his observer party voluntarily remained on the second floor of a house to direct defensive artillery fire. At 0800 hours, Lieutenant Fox reported that the Germans were in the streets and attacking in strength. He then called for defensive artillery fire to slow the enemy advance. As the Germans continued to press the attack towards the area that Lieutenant Fox occupied, he adjusted the artillery fire closer to his position. Finally he was warned that the next adjustment would bring the deadly artillery right on top of his position. After acknowledging the danger, Lieutenant Fox insisted that the last adjustment be fired as this was the only way to defeat the attacking soldiers. Later, when a counterattack retook the position from the Germans, Lieutenant Fox's body was found with the bodies of approximately 100 German soldiers. Lieutenant Fox's gallant and courageous actions, at the supreme sacrifice of his own life, contributed greatly to delaying the enemy advance until other infantry and artillery units could reorganize to repel the attack. His extraordinary valorous actions were in keeping with the most cherished traditions of military service, and reflect the utmost credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.