I met GP Cox, his writing name, on Pacific Paratrooper soon after I started blogging. His historic documentation of conflict focuses on the personalities, letters, photos and cartoons from those involved. Always ending with a list of those who have passed since his last blog. This is his first interview and as he likes to retain his mystique we carried out these conversations in our comments sections …
Hi GP can you tell us a little about your life?
I was born on the island of Broad Channel, NY, grew up in Nassau County and had a great childhood before moving to Florida. That was 47 years ago and I’m still here complaining about the heat – as my regular readers can attest to! I’m a bit of a loner who reads a lot. I’ve had so many hobbies, it’s as though too many subjects interest me and so I’m always running out of time to do everything that I want to. I have my father’s curiosity and his dry sense of humour.
I did not serve due to my father putting his foot down, and not being alive during WWII. I prefer to keep a low profile and remain in the background, much as narrators are during documentaries. I make every attempt to keep my own opinions out of the posts. I suppose that’s why IMO appears so often in the comments. I love my country and the current lack of unity saddens me.
Why did you start blogging these historical and often very personal details of service, letters, photos and cartoons from defence personnel?
I had started compiling a manuscript for a book about Smitty, my father, long ago. During this time obtaining ‘permissions to reprint’ from publishers grew to such proportions that it was beyond my capacity to do the book justice. It would have been titled “They Pay You More in the Paratroopers!” because when I pressed Smitty for a reason this is what he volunteered. You see, Smitty actually hated to jump, he thought of the gliders as death traps and was 8-10 years older than everyone in the 11th Airborne except for two officers. But his mother needed to supplement her bookkeeper’s salary.
A WordPress blog offered me a free method of electronically preserving the scrapbook before age and climate destroyed it. The more popular Smitty became, the more inquiries I received from readers, children and grandchildren of our Greatest Generation and gradually the present format of Pacific Paratrooper evolved. I have a wonderful group of regular visitors, my friends, who not only comment to me and add data that they are privy to, but also talk between themselves. Due to this interaction I feel excited that my site can be a gathering place for the exchange of many ideas!
How do you get your lists of deceased personnel?
They come from the readers themselves, newspapers, websites – wherever I can find them. Each one did their part in a long chain.
And where do you find your cartoons?
They come from many places: The Bill Mauldin’s book “Up Front”; Reader’s Digest; Chris’ blog “Muscleheaded”; AOL images; and too many other websites too long to type.