'Super Trooper' serves country, community

6 Jun 2003 | Cpl. Kim Thompson

People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons ranging from practical to

Volunteers can develop skills, contribute to society and help those in need. All it takes is
a little time and dedication.

Corporal Thomas J. Junkin, chooses to use his time serving as a volunteer around the
Beaufort community. Serving aboard the Air Station as training chief for Marine All-
Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224, Junkin is able to perform his military duties, and
still find time to volunteer.

Junkin donates more than 60 hours a week working as a reserve officer with the
Beaufort City Police Department and as a volunteer firefighter with the Beaufort City and
Town of Port Royal Fire Department.

A typical day begins with a 6 a.m. ring of the alarm clock, according to Junkin. After an
early rise he heads to the squadron where he handles all of the groundside training
issues for more than 150 Marines, such as the rifle range and physical fitness tests, until
3 p.m. After a quick shower and a change of clothes, Junkin is off to fight fires or patrol
the streets of Beaufort. A typical shift for Junkin begins around 5 p.m. and ends
approximately 2 a.m., which means a full nights rest is less than four hours.

"I get very little sleep, and not much time for meals," Junkin said. "But, if you loveĀ 
something enough you'll find a way to keep doing it."

Junkin may be a stranger to sleep, but he is well acquainted with service. Prior to
enlisting in the Marine Corps, Junkin served with the Army 101st Airborne division on
active duty from 1991-95 and inactive duty from 1995-99. During his reserve duty,
Junkin volunteered with the Emergency Management and Disaster Service and as a
police constable and firefighter in Mahoning County, Ohio. After finishing his contract
with the Army, Junkin joined the Marine Corps.

"I always wanted to be a Marine because of the camaraderie, bond and tightness you
will not find in any other branch of the service," Junkin said. "It was one of my goals."

Junkin is a "very squared away Marine" and he performs his job at the squadron well,
according to Staff Sgt. Jason A. Statema , quality assurance representative, VMFA(AW)

"Corporal Junkin takes care of his Marines," Statema said. "He has a very positive
outlook and a good attitude."

Junkin takes his positive outlook and uses it to help members of the Beaufort
community. Junkin says he spends his spare time giving back to the people of Beaufort
because of the satisfaction he finds with helping others.

"He really enjoys helping people," said Daniel D. Byrne, public information officer, City of
Beaufort and Town of Port Royal Fire Dept and former Marine Staff Sgt. "He's like the
oldest living boy scout."

While Junkin spends a number of hours working with both the police and fire
departments, his tastes for public service tends to favor law enforcement. Members of
the Beaufort PD are aware of his devotion to service, and because of his efforts with
both departments they have dubbed him "Super Trooper."

"If he is half as good a Marine as he is a police officer, then he must be Chesty Puller,"
said Lt. Christopher C. Cushman, operations lieutenant Beaufort City Police Department.

In addition to the actual performance of his duties as a reserve officer and firefighter,
Junkin must work long hours to remain qualified for both positions. There is a minimum
of 240 hours of training required by the fire department, and he must remain certified in
subjects like the Department of Defense First Responder and Hazardous Materials
Operations. After completing his initial training with the police department, Junkin must
maintain 60 hours of patrol time each quarter to maintain his qualifications. Junkin is also
required to attend legal classes and additional training courses throughout the year.
There is also a minimum of 20 hours and a yearly weapons qualification that he must

At the risk of starvation and sleep deprivation, Junkin strives to serve his country and his
community. As a Marine and a volunteer he wears many hats in order to serve, and
according to Junkin he does it all for two simple reasons.

"I do it because I like it, and for the satisfaction I get from helping others,"Junkin said.

If Marines and Sailors in the TriCommand are interested in giving back to the Beaufort
community, they can contact the Beaufort City and Port Royal Fire Dept. 525-7055,
Beaufort City Police Dept. 322-7919 or the Port Royal Police Dept. 986-2220.