The Accomplished Life: Honor, Service & Serenity

By Cheryl Van Tuyl Jividen  ::  Photography by Jason Risner

To say Jamie and Jacque Cox are highly accomplished is an understatement. To say they live lives full of servitude doesn’t adequately convey the breadth of their service to both nation and community. 

Jamie’s list of accomplishments is long and prestigious. Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps after graduating from the US Naval Academy, the Haskins, Ohio native went to flight school in Pensacola, Florida and was assigned to fly AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopters. From his North Carolina duty station, he deployed for Desert Storm, Somalia and Haiti mostly on Navy amphibious ships.

As a young First Lieutenant, Jamie would be one of the youngest pilots ever to go to the Marine Corps’ “Top Gun” school, Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) in Yuma, Arizona, where the best of the best pilots in the Marine Corps go to hone their war fighting, piloting and leadership skills. He learned his lessons well and was asked to return as an instructor. Jamie remembers the thrill well, “If you’ve never been to Yuma, its right on the border were Mexico, Arizona and California come together. It’s surrounded by the Chocolate Mountains to the north and the Cabeza Prieta Mountains to the east. Best flying ever! I also had the opportunity to travel around the world to various Marine Corps units on deployment to train and instruct them. I taught multiple functional areas:  air-to-air combat, close air support and enemy threat systems. I loved the intensity of teaching combat skills at a graduate level… not only in the classroom, but then strapping on the aircraft and going out and performing the mission.” Jamie found the missions to be exhilaratingly satisfying, “There’s nothing more motivating than a large flight of aircraft flying together in tight formation then splitting up to hit a target from multiple directions simultaneously. It’s an aerial ballet with a very violent purpose. There’s an incredible finesse to warfare that most people will never understand.”

For a short time he left the cockpit to serve in the Pentagon as the Marine Corps’ Aviation Weapons Requirements Officer then a stint as the Aide-de-Camp to a three star general overseeing Marine Aviation. After two years in the Pentagon, Jamie was hand selected to serve as a Congressional Fellow, where he spent 18 months working federal budget issues for Congressman Jack Murtha. Being on Capitol Hill during the 2000 presidential election, Jamie witnessed the turmoil of the vote recount, hanging chads, and ultimately, the Supreme Court decision. Later he would serve in a leadership position for the Marine Corps’ Legislative Affairs office.

Returning to the cockpit in 2001, and then deploying in 2003 for the invasion of Iraq, Jamie was in the pilot seat for the first day of the war, attacking Iraqi defense positions along the Kuwaiti border. In total, Jamie flew 117 combat missions in Iraq in 2003. In 2004, Jamie returned to Iraq, and it was during this deployment that he was wounded in both legs during a firefight in Fallujah. After returning to the States, Jamie retired in 2008 as a highly decorated Lieutenant Colonel, with awards including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal (Strike 8 and “V”), and many others including “V” device for Valor.

Throughout Jamie’s career, wife Jacque Carter Cox was trailblazing herself. Raised in a military family, she was encouraged to think big. “I grew up being told that I could do anything I set my mind on doing. I tried my best and followed a dream.” She didn’t disappoint, and after graduation from California State University at Fullerton, Jacque was one of the leading members of the female groundbreaking generation in the United States Secret Service. Her 25 years of service in the Secret Service started as a financial crimes investigator before rising through the ranks to become the Special Agent in charge of the San Antonio field office of the Secret Service. She reflects on her career as a senior federal law enforcement official, “I am very grateful for the opportunities I had with the Secret Service. There are many experiences which I will never forget. Some of those were awe-inspiring and some were horrific and tear-filled, but all were history in the making, up-close and personal. Some of those opportunities were firsts for women in the history of our agency. I’d like to think I worked just as hard and just as smart as any of the men, and maybe even harder, since any mistakes would be a blemish to all the other female agents. The traditions and the mission were just as important to me as any other agent — man or woman.” She also remembers the challenges of being a woman pioneering in the agency, “There certainly were times when I would laugh to myself, because of the stereotype of what a Secret Service agent looks like. One time in particular, I was on a detail with one of our protectees in an airport terminal. After the protectee was safely on the aircraft and I was waiting for the plane to depart, a passenger nudged me, pointing to my male counterparts saying, ‘Do you see those Secret Service agents?’ I moved my hair out of the way revealing my earpiece and said, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.’ She then laughed and told me she would have never known.”

During her tenure as a special agent, Jacque directly served presidents, vice presidents, foreign heads of state and worked closely with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. During her career, Jacque was responsible for the investigative budget across all domestic and foreign offices in the Secret Service and functioned as a direct liaison to Congress and other federal agencies. Jacque spent significant time developing and executing the federal budget and collaborating with all other cabinet-level departments on funding issues.

Through their careers, the Cox’s also raised a family of three children. Jamie notes, “The kids have been exposed to two very strong ‘families.’ The Marine Corps Family and the Secret Service Family. Both are very rich in history and tradition.” Son Jake, 25, lives in Louisville, Kentucky and is the Director of Rapid Response for Senator Rand Paul’s re-election campaign having previously worked on Senator Mitch McConnell’s campaign and for American Rising, a conservative Super PAC in DC.  Daughter Danica, 22, is a freelance artist working multiple mediums and living in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Youngest daughter Jessica, 14, will begin her sophomore year as a new student at TMI where she will continue her competitive swimming in their advanced swimming program. She competed in the South Texas Age Group Swimming (STAGS) championships at the University of Texas in Austin this summer.

The family moved from Washington, DC to Boerne after Jamie retired from the Marine Corps and when Jacque was promoted to lead the Secret Service field office in San Antonio. While they did some home hunting trips together, it was on a solo trip that she found their home in Cordillera Ranch. In fact, Jessica and Jamie didn’t see it until the day of move in. Jacque’s parents are both Texans and she says it always felt like home even though she lived in lots of places. Jamie says that it was quite the change from the urban setting of Alexandria with its constant noise, sirens, horns, trucks and city buzz. “On our first night in Cordillera Ranch, I remember Jacque and I standing out on the end of our driveway: we couldn’t hear a manmade noise nor could we see a manmade light. It was incredible!” Jacque agrees, “I love the serenity. Jamie and Jessica always laugh, but I can’t get enough of the wildlife — especially little fawns. I marvel at the stars at night from our back patio and the beauty of the sunrises out my front windows. I really enjoy the beauty of the Ranch!”

You’d think with all their accomplishments they’d sit back and enjoy their well-earned retirement in all the Hill Country beauty, but they found time to start their own business. Says Jamie, “We decided that we had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do something together in business. We formed JLC Squared with the intent of leveraging our individual experiences, to offer our clients and customers a unique, effective combination of management, leadership, perspective, insight, risk analysis, security threats and business acumen.”

After all they’ve done for our nation, the power couple still finds time to serve their community. Jamie has been CEO of Hill Country Family Services for a year. Humble about his leadership, he says, “I really see my role in the company as someone who gets to tell the incredible story of the amazing work that our staff and volunteers do. HCFS truly celebrates every single success of our clients. They are the poor, hungry, children, seniors, Anglo, Hispanic, some have college degrees, some are terminally ill, those with mental illnesses, and those living paycheck-to-paycheck and then encounter a bump in the road (like the car breaks down). I spend more time hugging our clients than anything else. Our clients are the ‘invisible’ members of our community. They are the ones that you won’t make eye contact with on the sidewalk. When they come to HCFS, we treat them with dignity, a smile, a hug… because sometimes this is the only place they are treated to the human touch and love.” Under his management, the organization has been awarded the Greater Boerne Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit Organization of the Year Award and the San Antonio Food Bank’s Golden Apple Award for Best Multi-Purpose Agency of the Year after competing with 530 other agencies.

Jacque busies herself with multiple volunteer positions. “Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking are very serious causes I feel passionate about. The results of either are so distressing to all who are victims. I am so proud to be the President-Elect of the Kendall County Women’s Shelter Board of Directors. KCWS is doing such great things for the victims of domestic violence within Kendall County and the surrounding counties.” As the family has four dogs, she’s particularly happy that KCWS has a unique distinction, “Our shelter is one of the few in the state that has an animal shelter. Victims can bring their pets with them and not have to worry about them being neglected or falling victim to their abuser.” She is also a board member of the newly formed Boerne Police Foundation and substitute teaches at Meadowlands Charter School.

Admittedly there isn’t much free time for the busy couple, especially as swim team parents, but when they can they enjoy spending time at home with Jessica and the dogs. Jamie says their best times involve being in their pool, floating around, laughing and talking about life with food on the grill. Good times indeed.

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