LTC Billy W. Cox USARMY (Ret.)
Inducted: November 3, 2018
Colonel Billy Cox was born in Rutherford County in 1935. He worked on the family farm, fascinated by over-flights of airplanes from nearby Murfreesboro Airport. He joined the National Guard while in high school and when he inquired about how to become a pilot, he was offered a flight in a Cessna L-19 Bird Dog.
Billy enrolled in the ROTC program at Middle Tennessee State College in 1955 and was selected to be in the first ROTC Flight Class. He soloed a J-3 Cub in 1958 and he and another cadet bought another J-3 Cub to build flight time prior to entering the Army. When he graduated he had a Private Pilot’s Certificate and was commissioned an Army 2nd Lieutenant. After Basic Training at Ft. Eustis, Billy was sent to Camp Wolters, Texas to complete rotary wing training. He flew the Chinook CH-21 and CH-47.
During the next twenty years, Cox served two combat tours in Vietnam and single tours in both Germany and Korea. Among many other medals, Billy earned the Bronze Star, the Air Medal with fourteen Oak Leaf Clusters and the Meritorious Service Medal. His 7,900 hours of flight time include 630 hours of combat flying. Stateside, Cox was stationed in seven different states including Tennessee.
His connection to his Alma Mater remained strong and when Billy returned to civilian life he went to work at MTSU. He was assigned the formidable challenge of gaining FAA Part 147 approval for Airframe and Powerplant Maintenance training and establishing the associated degree programs. Billy Cox became a truly exemplary University Professor engaging with his students on and off campus, attending aviation events with them, flying with them; mentoring and motivating; always with a trademark positive attitude and winning smile on his face! He earned recognition as MTSU’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year for 1986-87.
Billy Cox served his community as a Kiwanis Club President, past president of the Airfield Owner’s Association and EAA Chapter 419. Among numerous other accolades, he has received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot and is a current nominee for the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award.
For extraordinary service and achievement in aviation for Tennessee, our nation and the world, and for his service to our country, LTC Billy W. Cox is inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame this 3rd day of November 2018.