'I'm just a civilian': Santa Rosa Beach resident honored for time spent in Iraq

mike cox
Special to The Sun
Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 05:26 PM.

When Mike Cox, volunteered to go to Iraq to help facilitate the drawing down of U.S. soldiers, he came home with a greater sense of appreciation for his job, the troops and his country.

Yet, when he returned home to Santa Rosa Beach , Cox, a civilian engineer with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, he received recognition of his own. Cox, along with four other civilians, received the Secretary of Defense Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) Award, the equivalent to GWOT Expeditionary Medal awarded to military personnel, in a special ceremony on June 10.

Cox volunteered to be deployed as the director of public works at Contingency Operating Base Delta in Al Kut, Iraq , from November 2010 to October 2011. He was deployed specifically to assist with the management side of the operation, contributing social engineering skills to the project.

"It's really about supporting our troops, from my viewpoint." Cox said, humbly skirting the topic of the award.

While Cox did say he was honored to receive the medal, his real reward was being able to provide technical support to the troops.

 "There was a need and I was able to contribute to that," he said.

Almost 30 years of employment at the Department of Defense, Cox has traveled overseas for business trips, but has never spent time in combat zones.

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