Remembering Timothy Allan Fox
(July 4, 1948 to February 21, 1971)
I knew Tim Fox briefly during his stay at the 981st in Cam Ranh Bay in 1970, and we had a few opportunities to speak with each other. His stay was short but he had an indelible impact on 981st headquarters when he spared the life of a very small helpless pup and brought her to us to be our new unit mascot.
This is what happened. Tim was part of the 212th, serving in Long Binh and Vinh Long during his Vietnam stint, from 1968 to 1970. While I was 981st Company Clerk in 1970, Tim came to CRB prior to being sent back to stateside and discharged. This is my recollection of why he was in CRB — many soldiers having first arrived in-country in CRB, no matter where they served subsequently in Vietnam, came back to CRB when they were ready to rotate home. While waiting to do so he performed various duties. One day he and a partner were pulling dog-shooting duty (a sort of vector control procedure to stem the proliferation of local Vietnamese dogs), and when they came back Tim had a live pup for us as a replacement for our prior mascot Billy who had been accidentally killed by a jeep that ran him over while he was napping under it.
She was young, she was tiny, she was adorable and immediately won the hearts of all of us who saw and fell in love with her. In Tim’s honor we named her Foxy.
Tim’s stay with us was short so he missed Foxy’s transformation from a pup who was abruptly separated from her mother into a beautiful and highly personable dog. When she first arrived she had fur that in texture and length resembled that of a troll doll. Shortly thereafter she lost all of this longish fur and now resembled a thief wearing a black mask covering her face, with very short light brown fur over the rest of her. Then, in a stunning transformation she began to grow very long fur in colored layers of light brown, beige, and black, and right before our eyes turned into a beautiful long-haired dog with a plumed tail — a far cry from what she looked like when Tim spared her life.
Bob Biss, who served with Tim in Long Binh and Vinh Long remembers him as “one of the nicest people I ever met while serving.” Bob went home in April of 1970 and first heard that Tim was very sick and was being sent home, and then later got word that he had died. My recollection of Tim stems from around spring of 1970, but I do not remember him as being sick at all. This might have happened after he went home, or perhaps my recollection of precise dates is not correct or Bob’s memory of what happened and when could possibly be subject to error. However our recollections of Tim are not mutually exclusive and the fact remains that he died in early 1971, shortly after his service in Vietnam. I did not know this until I came across his obituary a year or so ago.
Tim’s Find A Grave obituary contains a photo from probably a high school yearbook, taken a few years before his Vietnam service. In the photo, I was startled to find that I recognized the planes of his face. The obituary also mentions that his rank was Spec 5, a possible indication that in the 212th he may have been a vet tech who was promoted. And in a 2010 obituary of his mother there is mention of the disturbing fact that in a family of six children, a total of three predeceased their parents — two of them alone having died in 1971.
By the time Tim left Vietnam, Foxy was flourishing and I continued to take care of her during the rest of my stay in Vietnam. I fed her, groomed her, rubbed her belly (she loved this and woud bliss out until I stopped), and protected her from sexually insistent males (we used a water gun for this — very effective) and from danger of suddenly moving vehicles. In fact, the first time I saw her snoozing under the shade of our parked jeep, I pulled her out and rubbed her nose smartly against one of the jeep’s tires. She got the message and never went near a jeep again.
I often afterwards thought that if it weren’t for Tim’s thoughtfulness and compassion, we never would have known and loved Foxy. She brought happiness to those who knew her and that was Tim’s doing as well. I’ll remember you best for that, Tim, for the day you brought that little bundle of pure joy into our lives. You will never be forgotten.
Submitted by Steve Dragovich, Company Clerk, 981st, 70/71.