American Patriotic 11

Riley "Dozer" Cox

March 29, 1947 ~ January 27, 2022 (age 74)


Riley Stanford “Dozer” Cox, cherished husband of Linda Cox, passed away on January 27, 2022 at his home in Bailey, Colorado after a long illness. His loss cannot be measured in words, but the impact of his life will continue to be felt in the hearts of all those who were blessed enough to know him. He would disagree, of course; he always said he was “just doing his job.” Riley hated the limelight, and much preferred to raise others up, content to be in the background quietly doing so much more than most.

He was born to Walter and Emmaline (Rooks) Cox in Globe, Arizona on March 29, 1947, one of five children. Riley served with distinction in Vietnam as a member of F/58th Infantry, Long Range Patrol and as one of the earliest Army Rangers. He was grievously wounded in combat in 1968 while attempting to help keep his team alive during a horrific ambush. Even in his wounded state, he succeeded in holding the entire side of a hill on his own until his teammates could be evacuated. He refused to leave the battlefield until others were rescued.

He spent the next 10 months in the hospital recovering, after which he insisted upon returning to duty with the 75th Rangers and serving another tour in combat, even though the Army tried to medically discharge him. Decades later, he still didn’t want accolades, certain that he had not done enough.

By the time his service in the Army was finished, he had earned the Silver Star, three Bronze Stars with Valor device, two Purple Hearts, two Vietnam service ribbons, and most importantly, the Combat Infantryman Badge and his jump wings.

After his service, together with the love of his life, Linda, he found a new way to serve his country and the veterans he loved so much. He became a mentor and even second father to two more generations of Army Rangers and their families, supporting them through their own trials by combat and helping them navigate the VA system after their service. His contribution to the veteran community as an advocate and friend may never be matched.

Anyone who met Riley, even once, found themselves changed in a profound way. His quiet demeanor belied an incredible, even mischievous sense of humor coupled with an iron set of principles. Riley didn’t believe in backing down or giving up. His refusal to accept failure underlined everything he did both in and out of combat, and things that would have broken lesser men rolled off Riley’s giant shoulders as if they were merely inconveniences. His immense physical stature was made all the more so by his giant personality, yet Riley’s nature was kind and gentle, forged in the personal, up-close knowledge that life is a fleeting whisper, all too often gone in an instant.

Because of that terrible knowledge, he loved just as fiercely as he fought, and was a beloved stepfather to Caroline Mishleau, Lisa (Jon) Patzer, and Niki (Aaron) Lenox. Later in life he was the proud grandfather of Cody Mishleau, Atalia (Aaron) Hatt, and Annaka Lenox, and even had a great-granddaughter, Huntleigh Hatt. He is survived by all of these beloved family members, as well as his siblings Jeannie, Ruth, Jack, and David.

Riley was a life member of the 75th RRA, the 101st LRRP-Ranger Association, and the LRRA. He was a quiet warrior, and one of the very best men this world ever offered…but if he were reading this, he would make me rewrite it all and leave out everything but his family and his fellow veterans.

There will be a celebration of life later in the spring.


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