HIT, Iraq -- Communication is said to be one of the most important tools in the world. For Hillsborough, N.C., native, Cpl. Tim R. Kaufmann, mastering this tool that can save lives is his job.
Kaufmann, a company radio operator for Company I, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, spends everyday keeping his company connected with each other and the battalion headquarters so they can support the Global War on Terrorism.
“As a company radio operator, I have to provide information to the battalion, make sure all the equipment works that the Marines take out on patrol and repair it when it breaks,” the 23-year-old said. “If their equipment doesn’t work right before they go out or if I provide the wrong information, somebody could get hurt.”
Kaufmann is also the company commander’s radio operator on operations. Wherever the commander goes on the patrols, Kaufmann is right next to him providing radio support.
Being a radio operator wasn’t Kaufmann’s first choice when he decided to join the Marines in May 2003. At the time of his enlistment, the infantry field was not open.
“When my recruiter told me that the infantry field was closed, he told me that being a radio operator was as close to grunts as I could get without being one,” he said.
Kaufmann graduated from Northern High School in 2000 and decided to go to college at Durham Technical Community College. After taking a year and a half worth of classes, he decided the military was his next stop on his life’s journey.
“I wanted to join the Marines over other branches because it sounded like they were doing all the cool stuff,” he said. “My uncle was also in the Marine Corps during Vietnam so it just seemed like the right fit.”
His experiences from his first tour in Iraq are helping him to do his job. He said that this time he knows what to expect and is more prepared than the last time when he was part of the Battle of Fallujah.
He plans to finish college at Wyotech in Pennsylvania after his tour in Iraq and he finishes enlistment in 2007. He aspires to get his degree in automotive custom hot rod and fabrication, and move back to the West Coast to run his own hot rod shop.
“Building hot rods is something I love to do and I like the area where I am stationed, so my ultimate goal is to run a shop somewhere over there,” Kaufmann said.
But for now, his mind is on the job of supporting his fellow Marines during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“My main goal here is getting the job done and going home safe,” Kaufmann commented.