U.S. MARINE CORPS PHOTO
Army Spc. Joseph C. Thibodeaux III looked at his target during the 2003 Pacific Division Matches hosted by Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
is killed in Iraq
A Schofield Barracks soldier was killed Wednesday while on patrol in northern Iraq, a family member and Army officials said last night.
A relative identified the soldier as Army Spc. Joseph C. Thibodeaux III, 24, of Lafayette, La.
Army officials declined to confirm the soldier's name last night, saying his identity would not be released until all family members were notified.
But Maj. Neal O'Brien, an Army spokesman in Tikrit, said that at 2 p.m. Wednesday a soldier with the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team was killed while on patrol in Hawija, east of Kirkuk.
O'Brien said the soldier's death is under investigation and that he was killed either by an improvised explosive device, a rocket-propelled grenade or small arms fire. He declined to provide more details.
Thibodeaux's brother, Jerome, said that his family was notified yesterday afternoon of the soldier's death.
The Army told family members that Thibodeaux was shot in the head when he got out of his armored car to inspect damage to the vehicle by a roadside bomb.
In a telephone interview from Louisiana last night, Jerome Thibodeaux also said his brother was in the first car of a three-vehicle convoy, and the only soldier killed in the attack.
Joseph Thibodeaux, who enlisted in 2000, had been stationed in Hawaii for four years before being deployed to Iraq about seven months ago.
His brother said Thibodeaux was a career soldier who had orders to teach at Army sharpshooter school next August.
"He was very proud of that," he said. "He was almost cocky about it."
Thibodeaux went on reconnaissance missions in Iraq and was also part of an elite team that taught marksmanship to other soldiers, his brother said.
Family members got to spend two weeks with the soldier last month, when he was home on leave.
His brother said that Thibodeaux was determined to finish his one-year stint in Iraq but was also looking forward to moving on.
"He knew it was his job, and he was ready to get it over with," Jerome Thibodeaux said. "He just wanted to get it done. ... He lived as if he was invincible, and now he finally is."
Besides his brother, Thibodeaux is survived by parents Joseph and Becky, and sister Brittany. Services are not yet scheduled.
Since the Iraq war started in March 2003, 12 soldiers and one civilian with ties to Hawaii have been killed in Iraq. Twelve of the 13 were killed in hostile action.
Thibodeaux is the seventh 25th Infantry soldier to be killed in Iraq this year. Army Spc. Joseph Herndon II, a Schofield Barracks-based soldier who died in late July, was also killed in Hawija.
Star-Bulletin reporter Gregg Kakesako contributed to this report.