Hard word pays off for gunnery sergeant

14 Apr 2004 | Pfc. Matthew K. Hacker

An extremely hardworking and motivated Collinsville, Miss., native and platoon sergeant for B Company, 2d Transportation Support Battalion, 2d Force Service Support Group, was meritoriously promoted to gunnery sergeant April 2. He has his successful Marine Corps career to thank for that.Gunnery Sgt. Therester A. Cox enlisted in the Marine Corps on July 29, 1992, right out of high school. “I really wasn’t ready to go to college and I didn’t want to linger at home because there wasn’t anything there to do,” said Cox. “One day when I was a junior in high school I was sitting in class reading a magazine and saw an advertisement for a free Marine Corps poster, so I filled it out and mailed it in. Then a recruiter called me back about my entry and kept hassling me until I joined.”Cox enlisted as a motor transportation diesel mechanic but got switched to motor transportation operator after boot camp. He ended up stationed in Twentynine Palms, Calif., where he stayed for three years.“I always wanted to be a diesel mechanic,” said Cox. “I guess I was thinking about the future and I figured that there would always be a use for mechanics in the civilian world after I got out of the Marine Corps, but turning out to be a driver wasn’t bad. I’ve had many good experiences in this field, and I have no regrets.”After leaving Twentynine Palms in 1995, Cox was reassigned to Fort Leonardwood, Mo., to be a motor transportation instructor for students attending job school there. “That was a great experience being able to interact with the students and help teach the upcoming motor transportation Marines I’d be seeing shortly after graduation,” said Cox.In 1999, the husband of Gunnery Sgt. Jonah S. Cox and father of 10-month-old daughter Breanna, transformed into a drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., where he stayed for four years.“I was a drill instructor for my first four cycles, and then I became a senior drill instructor for my last two,” said Cox. “I actually held a drill master position my sixth, and final, cycle with I Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion.”Being a drill instructor was a very fulfilling job, said Cox.“It made me extremely proud to see them evolve from training day one to training day 64, based on things I instilled in them. It’s a very honorable job, being able to have influence on new Marines entering the fleet.”In February 2003, Cox, a staff sergeant, was relocated here and was assigned to 2d TSB, where he held the position of B Company’s company gunnery sergeant, until he received his promotion.After being a staff sergeant for five years, Cox was selected for a meritorious promotion to gunnery sergeant. “Not many staff sergeants get that opportunity,” said Cox. “It’s very rare; I was surprised.”Gunnery sergeant wasn’t the only rank Cox gained meritoriously though. He also received meritorious promotions to private first class, corporal and sergeant.There are many factors that are considered by higher ranking officials in order for them to make a meritorious promotion, said Cox. They look at a Marine’s entire history in the Corps, and base the promotion on their accomplishments and failures.“You have to strive to accomplish high standards and set high goals for yourself in order to succeed in the Marine Corps,” said Cox. “To succeed in anything for that matter; you don’t excel by doing the bare minimum.A Marine has to give anything and everything he’s got to the Corps in order to get things in return,” said Cox.“It’s all about what you make of your career and how bad you want to succeed,” he said. “If you don’t want it bad enough, you’re never going to get it.”