2nd Lt. Alexander Cox, a recent graduate of the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis, was named the 2014 Air Force Cadet of the Year at a Dec. 5 ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. He is the 15th recipient of the award.
Cox earned both a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, summa cum laude, and a master’s in aerospace engineering from Washington University in 2014. He was a member of the AFROTC Detachment 207.
As an undergraduate, Cox was a member of the varsity swim team, serving as swim team captain during his junior year; was in the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, the Pi Tau Sigma Mechanical Engineering Honorary and the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society; and earned the Erwin C. Hoelscher Memorial Outstanding Senior Award from the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science.
The Cadet of the Year award goes to the most outstanding cadet from the Air Force commissioning program, which includes Officer Training School, the Air Force Academy and the Air Force ROTC. A board reviews the cadets’ records of military performance, academics and physical fitness and selects a winner annually.
“Alex is hard working, humble and grounded,” said Phil Bayly, PhD, the Lilyan and E. Lisle Hughes Professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science. “In between all his other accomplishments, he’s been a popular and valuable teaching assistant: helpful, responsible and considerate. All of the faculty and staff in our department are delighted that he received this well-deserved honor.”
The Air Force said that as a cadet, Cox consistently exhibited the utmost excellence in leadership, academics, fitness and character. As commander of the 207th Wing, he led a program that raised the grade point average from 14th to fourth regionally, placing them in the top 10 percent of Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps.
Cox achieved a 98.7 percent fitness score and 3.94 grade point average, which earned him Detachment 207 Distinguished Graduate honors. Cox was also recognized as Distinguished Graduate of Field Training in 2012 and served as a Military Operations on Urban Terrain Attack Cadet Trainer the following year.
The Air Force Cadet of the Year Award was established by the Air Squadron of the United Kingdom to recognize the best cadet in a U.S. Air Force Commissioning Program. The British Air Squadron is a private organization comprising British citizens who wish to pay tribute to the U.S. military for the support it has provided to the United Kingdom over the years.
The Cadet of the Year Millennium sword is displayed outside the office of the Air Force Chief of Staff in the Pentagon along with the names of the past recipients.
There are about 13,000 cadets enrolled at 144 Air Force ROTC detachments around the world. The U.S. Air Force Academy has an additional 4,000 cadets.
Cox will report for flight training in early 2015 with the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program.