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Decade’s first dining out for Warrior Transition Battalion

By Sgt. Tamara Thompson | 1ST INF. DIV. SUST. BDE. PUBLIC AFFAIRS | August 23, 2017

     The Warrior Transition Battalion, 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, held their first dining out at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Junction City, Kansas, Aug. 5. Sgt. 1st Class. Jennifer Cox, force protection noncommissioned officer for the 1st Inf. Div. Sust. Bde., spoke about her experience of having a brain tumor removed while working at a WTB in 2015.

     “I just want to share my story in a way that will encourage them or motivate them to … keep going, because life is hard,” Cox said.

     Cox, a military police officer, began her career in 2001 at Fort Carson, Colorado. She has been a drill sergeant, worked with Military Police Investigations and the Criminal Investigation Division and, most recently, served as cadre at a WTB while at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington.

     “Being the cadre at the WTB is the opposite of being a drill sergeant,” she said. “I felt like I found my niche for it because I really enjoy helping people.”

     Cox was diagnosed with a brain tumor four months after the birth of her second child. In February 2015, Cox had a craniotomy.

     According to Cox, the long recovery period was challenging but she was able to overcome the pain and regain her energy.

   “One of the most important things I have learned is you have to keep going,” Cox said. “If you try and look at it too big it can be overwhelming… you have to ask for help and have people you can rely on. It has to be a team effort.”

     During the event, the attendees were able to mingle and enjoy a meal. It was also a chance for Cox to spend time with Soldiers who knew of her experience while she was dealing with the brain tumor.

     “Watching Sgt. 1st Class Cox in the whole situation, it never occurred to her, you can tell, that this or a hell of a lot more would get her down,” Maj. David Raines, WTB executive officer, said. “When I thought about a message not only for our cadre and our Soldiers in transition, and what is possible, I immediately thought of Sgt. 1st Class Cox.”

      According to Cox, her biggest struggle is dealing with her brain.

     “My brain just doesn’t function the way that it used to,” she said. “That’s normal with any kind of head injury… other parts of my brain are kicking in and I’m just having to learn to do things a little bit differently than I used to.”

     Cox remains grateful her tumor was benign and she didn’t have to do chemotherapy and radiation. She said her family’s support motivates her and, she draws inspiration from others, especially children, who have to go through brain cancer.

     “I have been fortunate to stay on active duty,” Cox said. “I have days I wish (I could) wake up on my own schedule and put on civilian clothes, but honestly, when it comes down to it, nothing gives me more purpose than putting on the uniform and serving my country.”

 

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