This U.S. Navy dress blue service coat belonged to then Lieutenant Commander Mark Fox circa 1991. A native of Abilene, Texas, Mark I. Fox graduated from the U.S. Navy Academy in 1978 and became a naval aviator in March 1980. Fox has commanded Strike Fighter Squadron 81 aboard the USS Enterprise (CVN 65), Carrier Air Wing 2 aboard the USS Constellation (CV 64), and Carrier Strike Group 10 aboard the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). On March 21, 2003, Fox has the distinction of being the Mission Commander for the first strike package of Operation Iraqi Freedom. For leading the first strike to downtown Baghdad, Fox was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. From 2006-2007, Fox served as Communication Division Chief and spokesman for the Multi-National Force-Iraq in Baghdad. Other command and leadership assignments have included Service Commander of Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center in Fallen, NV, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of White House Military Office (responsible for overseeing all military support to the president), Commodore of the Strike Fighter Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet, first Commanding Officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 122 (the Navy's first FA-18E/F Supper Hornet Squadron), and joint duty as the Maritime Plans Officer at Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe in Casteau, Belgium. At the time of this writing, Mark Fox is a Vice Admiral and serves as the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces, U.S. Central Command, Bahrain. Fox has flown over 100 combat sorties, logged over 4,900 flight hours, 1,347 arrested landing on 15 different aircraft carriers and one air-to-air victory. Flying an F/A-18 as part of VFA-81 Sunliners, the then Lt. Commander Fox shot down the first Navy MiG kill of Operation Desert Storm prior to dropping his bombs on a western Iraqi airfield on January 17, 1991. During that same mission, Lt. Nick Mongillo of VFA-81 also downed an Iraqi MiG before dropping his bombs on the airfield. As Fox himself put it, "The fact that we managed to bag two Iraqi MiG-21s while enroute to the target really iced the cake." The uniform offered in this lot is Fox's Lt. Commander dress blues. The left breast of the dress coat has the distinctive clutch back gold Navy pilot wing which is above four rows of service ribbons (Legion of Merit, Commendation Medal, Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation with two stars, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Air Medal with star, National Defense Service Medal with star, Southwest Asia Service Medal with star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Navy Sea Service Deployment with three stars, Navy Rifle Marksmanship Medal, Navy Pistol Marksmanship Medal). Lieutenant Commander rank insignia are feature at the cuffs. The inside of the jacket as a Jacob Reed's Sons tailored for the United States Naval Academy tag. The coat comes with a pair of dress blue trousers, a tie, and white dress shirt. The tie has a Midshipman tag and the shirt is hand marked "FOX 782700" on the inside of the collar with a Hanover Uniform Co. tag. The trousers have a Jacob Reed's Sons tag which is hand marked "FOX M.I." Included is a hand written letter from Fox stating that this uniform was tailored for him while he was a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy and the ribbons are those that he wore as of December 1991.
The uniform is in excellent condition showing little wear. Truly a unique piece of modern aviation history and a worthy display piece for an advanced naval aviation collection.
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