Retired Aug. 1, 1990.
Major General Hugh L. Cox III is deputy commander in chief, U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
General Cox was born in 1934 in Fort Worth, Texas, and attended high school in Amarillo, Texas. He earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Texas Christian University in 1957. He completed Squadron Officer School in 1962, Air Command and Staff College in 1970, and was a distinguished graduate of Air War College in 1978.
The general received his commission through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program in January 1957. He then attended pilot training at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., where he received his wings in September 1958. He then was assigned to Scott Air Force Base, Ill., as an aeromedical evacuation pilot and later as assistant chief of aircrew standardization and evaluation. From June 1963 to July 1966 he served as the aide-de-camp and command pilot for the commander in chief, Alaskan Air Command, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. His next assignment was to Headquarters North American Air Defense Command at Ent Air Force Base, Colo., as executive officer to the commander in chief, NORAD.
After completing Air Command and Staff College in June 1970, General Cox became assistant wing chief of standardization and evaluation for EC-130s with the 7th Airborne Command and Control Squadron, Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. From September 1971 to August 1973 he was assigned to Headquarters 3rd Air Force, South Ruislip Air Station, England, and later to Royal Air Force Station Mildenhall, as chief of a division under 3rd Air Force director of operations. In September 1973 General Cox transferred to Royal Air Force Station Wethersfield, where he served as commander. He returned to Alaska in April 1976 as deputy commander, 21st Air Base Group, Elmendorf Air Force Base.
After graduating as a distinguished graduate from Air War College in May 1978, the general served as commander, 7th Airborne Command and Control Squadron, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. In September 1979 he transferred to the 552nd Airborne Warning and Control Wing, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and served as deputy commander for operations. General Cox was assigned to the 1st Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, Fla., in May 1981 as vice wing commander and in March 1982 became wing commander. In March 1983 he was assigned as commander of 2nd Air Division, also at Hurlburt Field. In that position he was responsible for the Air Force's total capability in special operations with units in the continental United States and overseas. Two of his 2nd Air Division squadrons led the successful assault on the Caribbean island of Grenada in October 1983. In April 1984 General Cox was chosen to command the E3A component of the NATO Airborne Early Warning Force, NATO air base Geilenkirchen, West Germany. In June 1987 he was selected as the first director of operations of the newly created U.S. Special Operations Command. He assumed his present position in May 1988.
The general is a command pilot with more than 10,000 military and civilian flying hours, of which more than 1,000 are combat flying hours logged in Southeast Asia in EC-130s. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.
He was promoted to major general Aug. 1, 1987, with same date of rank.