Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
His tattoos and crooked nose could be interpreted as attributes of a mean person who lives a wild lifestyle, but those who would assume such things would be wrong.
To understand the Forest Grove, Ore., native you have to look further than the book cover.
Corporal Timothy Ross’ crooked nose was caused by a childhood accident. His tattoos are metaphors for his accomplishments and his day-to-day struggle with good and evil.
Ross joined the Marine Corps as a motor transportation operator three weeks after graduating from Sunset High School in 2008.
The decision came easy for two reasons explained Ross, who deployed to Afghanistan in 2009.
“My second week in sixth grade, I woke up to get ready for school and I saw one of the towers get hit (on 9/11). I called my mom and she told me to go to school. I saw it and couldn’t understand why people would do that to other people. Since then, I’ve always wanted to join,” said Ross. “It was a done deal when I could see the Marine recruiter was wise beyond his years, confident and knew who he was. When I saw his position, I wanted it. I was shy and introverted and I wanted to change for the better.”
Ross improved into the man he wanted to be over nearly four-years in the Corps, but in many ways he kept his personality. He is not shy, but is soft spoken. He’s not a comedian but enjoys joking with his fellow Marines. However, the most valued change, explained Ross and his parents, is that the drive and confidence he has learned in the Corps has made him capable of doing anything.
“I’ve seen him mature in a lot of ways,” said Wendy Dye, his mother. “He thinks things through more now and has a better sense of who he is and what can do. He thinks he’s capable of doing anything he wants and I think that’s a great thing.”
Ross is highly regarded at his work place by fellow Marine as knowledgeable, comical and hard working.
Corporal Dylan E. Howerton, a fellow motor transportation Marine, training and operations, 2nd Marine Division, described Ross as a positive Marine who chooses to roll with the punches instead of dwelling on negatives.
“You can’t look at what is on the outside. You’ve got to look at the inside, you’ve got to get to know him to know him,” said Cpl. Desmond D. Hodges, a motor transportation operator with Training and Operations office.
“He has kind of a dark comedy. Ross is one of those people that you have to stand back, look at and say, ‘Who says that?’” he added with a laugh and smile.
Ross attributes his interest in mechanics and his sense of humor, in part, to his father whom he spent a lot of time watching restore vehicles.
“He’s the hardest worker I know. You have to be a jerk to get him mad. He jokes around a little bit – he always liked to make fun of me and my lack of success with women,” said Ross with a laugh, who is also now married.
After Ross’s time in the Corps is done, Ross says his next mission is to get a college education and become a history teacher.
“Now I know what I want to do with my life and I’m not going to let anything stop me,” Ross said.
Both his mother and father said they are very proud of their son and believe the Marine Corps was a good fit for him.
“He’s become the man that he needed to be. I’ve been proud of Tim since he was young, but it was difficult to tell him I was proud of him before because I didn’t agree with all of his decisions,” said Allen Dye, Ross’s father. “But now I can tell him I’m proud of him every time I see him.”