MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Law enforcement, military service and the priesthood -- all share a foundation in community service.
That?s what attracted LCpl. Timothy Wolf.
Wolf, "Wolfy" or "Wolfman," as some people call him, considered all three professions and is testing the military side through the Marine Corps.
While pursuing community service, Wolf, a 20-year-old landing support specialist, has learned the advantages of not being a "lone Wolf." He has also learned that teamwork includes, among other things, taking care of oneself.
"When I first joined the Marine Corps, I just wanted to give everything to everyone else," he said. "The Corps has ... taught me that we work as a team. So yeah, you give to them, but you also have to take care of yourself. You have to make a good balance of the two; that's part of being a team.
"All my life, I had been working and doing things myself. I don't want to look back from my deathbed and be disappointed. So far, I have had a great life. I just want to give back what I can."
The Mokena, Ill., native spent a semester in college studying law enforcement before joining the Corps in May 1999.
"At home, I worked with the volunteer police department. I am still interested in it. I may go back to college after my four years and finish my studying. I would like to work with the Illinois State Police."
Wolf's interest in the priesthood comes from a strong Catholic background. His family members are devout Catholics, Wolf said. "I looked at going into priesthood, but it would have been a mistake to jump into it. I have learned so much about life in just one year in the Corps."
He said he?s not likely to join the priesthood now.
"Not really, but it could happen."
For now, the right choice for Wolf is the Corps.
"I was trying to decide what to do, looking into my options," he said. " I wanted to do more than serve my country. The Marine Corps was a cut above the rest.
"I didn't tell my parents that I was looking into it. I called them collect from the hotel the night before I enlisted. It was probably one of the best things I have ever done. It was a decision I made on my own that helped to build my self-esteem and confidence."
At first, Wolf?s parents didn't believe he wanted to go through with it.
"They asked me if I wanted them to come pick me up at the hotel. When I got home the next day, they were very supportive. They just had to get over the initial shock."
Boot camp was rough, Wolf said.
"I didn't think I was going to make it. I wasn't really confident until after the Crucible. I used to be a "run drop," so it was always hard for me. Now one of my biggest goals is a 300 (physical fitness test score).
"One of the best moments of boot camp was at the end of the crucible, during the emblem ceremony. They used to make me howl, because my last name is Wolf. My drill instructor would say, 'Wolf up,' and I would howl. Right before he gave me the eagle, globe and anchor, he asked me if I would howl for him, one last time."
Wolf works with a helicopter support team attached to Marine Expeditionary Unit Service Support Group 11.
"My favorite part is the HST. It's one of the coolest jobs in the Corps. Working that close to the helo is a real adrenaline rush."
The job has given him special appreciation for teamwork.
"There's a lot of trust out there, with downwash and the hook, which has 2,000 volts of static electricity on it. (The old saying) if someone doesn't do his job, the other one is going to get fried. It's very true in our (military occupational specialty)."
Wolf's future is undetermined, he said. For now, he is looking forward to deploying with MSSG-11 and enjoying his time in the Corps.