Young Fox follows in pack leader's footsteps
By Cpl. Jose A. Figueroa
| Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | November 09, 2000
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON --
He gazed at the monitor intently as if expecting a different turn out or as if he had missed something the first time around. The video always begins with the title ?Unknown Russian Soldier? on a black background, but somehow it always seems like anyone?s story.
The boot of a Chechen rebel is planted flat on the side of the Russian soldier?s head and the pressure increases. The Russian soldier is squirming and wondering where he had gone wrong. It is that moment, while thoughts of the Russian soldier?s home pass through his mind that the rebel cuts his throat. The Russian soldier remembers when he was a boy on a farm in the Ukraine and had to kill the pigs for the next day?s market. His thoughts slowly slip away as he dies. Where had he gone wrong?
No matter how often Gunnery Sgt. Timothy J. Fox sees this video clip, he can?t help but feel the importance of his teachings to tomorrows warriors.
?This guy probably wandered off from his platoon and was caught by the Chechens,? said Fox. ?I show this video to my students so they will always think about their job and how important it is for them to survive.?
Fox, an instructor in anti-tank warfare at the School of Infantry, Weapons Company, described his work as ?important to a young grunt because it gives them the skills to reduce the probability of becoming a casualty.?
However, times are changing and this Marine?s time has come.
Part of a small group of 20th century Marines known as ?Reagan Marines,? Fox will be moving into the corporate world after 20 years of service to the Corps.
The son of an Irish restaurant manager, in Manhattan, N.Y., was against his son joining any military outfit due to his experience after serving in the Army as a basketball player for three years.
?He said, ?It was the biggest waste of time?,? said Fox.
Originally, Fox was intent on joining the Army so he could be a Ranger, but after being told that he would have to do a second tour to become a Ranger he quickly changed his mind.
?I wanted to join the military so I could have fun and have some adventure before I went to college,? said Fox.
It was the legendary portrayal of the Marine Corps that finally captured him.
?My father threatened to kill me if I joined the Marine Corps. He even tried to bribe me by buying me a new car,? said Fox.
It was after some of Fox?s friends commented about how sharp the Marines at the Brooklyn Naval Yard seemed his father signed the permission form.
He joined at the age of 17, on Dec. 30, 1980, and planned to serve only three years. At the age of 37, his career took him far from his native hometown of Yonkers, N.Y.
?I didn?t intend to stay in 20 years,? said Fox.
Upon completion of his recruit training, he ended up in Camp Pendleton for his initial infantry training. Shortly after, he was sent to the Marine Barracks in Subic Bay, Philippines.
As time went by, he would see several places, but in the same token would always return to his second home, Camp Pendleton.
In 1994 he decided to attend the Marine Security Guard school and was branded as being the best in his line of work. It was because of this characterization that he was chosen to become the Detachment Commander for the Amman, Jordan post.
Before leaving the Corps, Fox will leave an open space for another Timothy Fox. This Timothy is his son and like his father, joined the Corps at 17,with his father?s blessing, to become a grunt.
From the older Timothy?s perspective it seems as though life is just repeating itself.
Like his father before him long ago, the young Fox now sits in a squad bay learning the skills needed to be a ?grunt,? and waits patiently for the day when he can be called that.
?I just wanted to continue the tradition,? said young Fox. ?Follow my father?s footsteps, but also make a name for myself.?
Although the young Fox is close to completing his training he will be returning to the civilian sector to attend college and obtain a business management degree, while in the reserves. He hopes to get a commission in the Marine Corps and serve as an active duty infantry officer.
?I went into the reserves for that purpose,? said the young Fox. ?The way I see it, the infantry is the backbone of the Corps and I want to be my own boss.
?I had a drill instructor tell me the air wing was the backbone and I was quick to correct him,? said young Fox as he boyishly smiled. ?He laughed at me and said it was pretty ball-sy of me. He killed me for it though.?
The young Fox sometimes believe that his upbringing in the Corps can sometimes bring trouble.
?I grew up with Marines my whole life,? said young Fox. ?Also, being in Jordan kind of made me feel special because of my father?s job.?
However, it was an incident at recruit training that set the young Fox straight and made him realize to set his priorities straight while in the Corps.
?There was a day when tempers flared up between me and another recruit,? said young Fox. ?We we?re about to fight and that?s when the DI made a comment that made me stop in my tracks.
??Is that what the gunny taught you?? and that just made me stop,? said young Fox. ?He was right. My father didn?t teach me that.?
It was that moment he felt he would have let his father down if he had carried on.
?I?m proud of my dad,? said young Fox. ?I guess in some ways I am going to take his place.?