Vietnam Veterans Hold True To Thier Wartime Promise.
Master Sgt. William H. Cox and First Sgt. James T. Hollingsworth were stuck in a bunker under fire when they made their pact.“Charlie (the nickname for the North Vietnamese) was really putting on a fireworks show for us.” Cox said remembering the moment they made the pact. The two marines made a deal “If we survived this attack, or survived Vietnam, we would contact each other every year on New Year’s,” Cox recalled.
The Marines made good on that pact and contacted each other every year, for over 50 years. The two veterans remained good friends over the years despite the distance that they lived from each other. Cox settled down in South Carolina and Hollingsworth lived in Georgia. This year Cox followed through on another promise that Hollingsworth asked to which he replied: “Boy, that’s a rough mission you’re assigning me to there.”
Hollingsworth found out that he was terminally ill earlier this year and asked Cox to do him one last favor, to give the eulogy at his funeral. Cox the man of honor, and a good friend stood guard at Hollingsworth’s casket and gave his brother in arms his eulogy.
“There’s a bond between Marines that’s different from any other branch of service. We’re like brothers,” he said.
The two men met on their way to Vietnam in 1968. After his service, Hollingsworth settled in Georgia, while Cox spent 20 years in the Marine Corps and went on to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service.
They served in VMO-2, a Marine helicopter squadron, where Hollingsworth was a mechanic and a door gunner, and Cox was an ordnance chief and a door gunner.
They flew many combat missions together, and at the end of each mission, they had a saying, which Cox repeated at the close of Hollingsworth’s eulogy: “Hollie, you keep ‘em flying, and I’ll keep ‘em firing.”