Sept. 18, 2009

Virginia Air Guard commander becomes Deputy Director of Operations for First Air Force

By Lt. Col. Deb Magaldi
Virginia Air Guard Public Affairs

  Col. James Cox

Col. James N. Cox, a commander and command fighter pilot with the Virginia Air National Guard, has accepted an assignment as the Deputy Director of Operations at First Air Force (Air Forces Northern), headquartered at Tyndall Air Force Base, Panama City, Fla.

SANDSTON, Va. — Col. James N. Cox, a commander and command fighter pilot with the Virginia Air National Guard, has accepted an assignment as the Deputy Director of Operations at First Air Force (Air Forces Northern), headquartered at Tyndall Air Force Base, Panama City, Fla.

First Air Force is one of four numbered air forces assigned to Air Combat Command. It has the responsibility of ensuring the air sovereignty and air defense of the continental United States. As the CONUS geographical component of the binational North American Aerospace Defense Command, it provides airspace surveillance and control and directs all air sovereignty activities within the continental United States.  First Air Force is also the Air Force forces provider to U.S. Northern Command. In this role, AFNORTH has the responsibility of providing Air Force capabilities in support of civil authorities during national special security and emergency events.

As the Deputy Director of Operations for First Air Force, Cox will serve as a primary staff advisor for the direction and control of U.S. Air Force forces assigned to the NORAD and USNORTHCOM area of responsibility which includes the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  He will be responsible for the implementation of Air Force policy and support for air, space and information operations within the region. He will ensure that Air and Space Expeditionary Task Forces are capable of performing assigned missions. His directorate works in concert with NORAD and USNORTHCOM Logistics, Plans and Policy, and Installation and Mission Support directorates to manage and oversee crisis action planning. He will be responsible for leading cross-functional long-range plan development, as well as executing a range of threat-response plans.
 
Prior to accepting this position, Cox served as the Director of Operations on the Virginia Air National Guard Headquarters Air Staff in Sandston, Va., where he was responsible for the effective and efficient operation of Virginia's air component.

He recently completed a tour of duty on the Headquarters Air Force Air Staff with the Air Force Quadrennial Defense Review office. As the deputy division chief for integration, he coordinated directly with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Air Force, and joint service partners while contributing expertise to tactical airpower, total force integration and irregular warfare issues.

Cox, son of Billy and Betty Cox of Morristown, Tenn., earned his commission in 1987 through the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He was a distinguished graduate from both Undergraduate Pilot Training and F-16C training and gained experience in several models of the F-16 before entering service with the Air National Guard in 1996. He was selected for and began flying the F-22A Raptor in 2006 as a member of the 149th Fighter Squadron, 192d Fighter Wing of the Virginia Air National Guard. A command pilot with more than 3,000 hours in fighter aircraft, he served as commander of the 149th Fighter Squadron before being promoted to headquarters assignments.

Cox has been recognized with numerous awards and commendations for his service, including the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Aerial Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Air Force Achievement Medal and the Combat Readiness Medal with eight oak leaf clusters.

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