Pres. Barack Obama speaks to Kyle Cox after stepping off Marine One to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base on Dec. 6.Photo courtesy of Kim Wilkins
When someone joins any branch of the armed forces, one typically expects to learn honor and discipline and perhaps embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
One marine who recently returned home to Green River, Wyo. can say he had a duty only a few marines have an opportunity to perform, flying the President of the United States.
Kyle Cox recently returned home from the Marine Corps. and his time as a member of Marine Helicopter Squadron One, HMX-1.
HMX-1, also known as as the Nighthawks, are a group tasked with providing helicopter services for the president, vice president and foreign leaders.
After completing a tour of duty in Iraq, spending seven months as a door gunner and crew chief of a CH-46 Sea Knight, Cox was selected to serve with HMX-1. After two years serving in the squadron, he was selected to serve on Marine One, the president's helicopter, through an in-house vote amongst other members of the squadron.
Cox said he was surprised to be selected, though he was more worried about making a mistake while in flight than anything else.
Dec. 6, 2010 was Cox's last flight on Marine One. Once the helicopter landed, Cox and President Barack Obama shook hands which is a moment Cox said he'd never forget.
Cox said he returned home to help his family's oilfield business and to raise a family.
Cox recently married his wife Kelsey in September. He admits it's possible to raise a family while in the Marine Corps, but it's a hard task because he would most likely miss important dates such as birthdays and holidays.
"I'm proud of my husband," Kelsey said about her husband's service.
She said they plan to buy a house in Green River, Wyo. and start a family.
"I want a big family," she concluded, saying they planned to have four children.
Kyle's mother, Kim Wilkins, said she plans to host an open house celebrating the couple's marriage in April.
Kyle said his service in the Marine Corps was a very rewarding experience. He said he gained confidence and life experience he can share with others.
Kyle is the grandson of Claudia Kenney of Orangeville, and Clifford and Janice Snow of Ferron.