When Marine Corps veteran Marshall W. Fox was diagnosed with lung cancer last year, his daughter, Angela Ritch, wanted to plan something to make his birthday extra special. While thinking of ideas for her father, she remembered him mentioning wanting to visit Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Charleston, SC.
Fox enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1967 and served on active duty until 1968 – rising to the rank of Corporal. While deployed to Vietnam with the 3rd Force Service Regiment (FSR), Fox served as a mechanic, performing maintenance work on jeeps and mules.
Although Fox’s visit to Patriots Point was not a surprise, Angela had planned a few surprises up her sleeve.
“He knows about us taking him to South Carolina and visiting Patriots point; but he has no clue that my brother who lives in Oregon will be flying in a day before to surprise him,” she shared. “I have no doubt this will be the best birthday my Dad will ever have.”
Fox was also unaware that Angela had contacted Patriots Point Executive Director Mac Burdette, who arranged for a special lunch aboard the Fantail of the USS Yorktown for the group. With views of the USS Laffey destroyer and USS Clamagore submarine, as well as the Charleston Harbor, the luncheon was a memorable experience. In addition to the luncheon, Mr. Fox enjoyed touring the museum ships at Patriots Point and was impressed by the exhibits; but above all else, he was struck by the friendliness of staff at Patriots Point.
“The main thing that impressed me had nothing to do with the exhibits, it was the people,” he said. “I am glad that there is an organization that honors and appreciates veterans. You had to be there, serving in the military, to really appreciate and understand what it was like. I don’t seem to have the words to express how much what was done for me means. It was one of the best birthdays I have ever had.”