Prayer services for slain
soldier set for Tuesday

Joseph Thibodeaux is the 13th
with isle ties to die in Iraq

A private prayer service will be held Tuesday at Schofield Barracks' main chapel for the 25th Infantry Division's seventh fatality in Iraq this year.

Spc. Joseph C. Thibodeaux III, 24, of Schofield Barracks was killed Wednesday in Hawija, east of Kirkuk.

Spc. Joseph C. Thibodeaux III, 24, of Lafayette, La., was killed Wednesday in Hawija when his patrol came under enemy attack.

Bryan Goodin, an Oahu businessman who knew the soldier, said that one of Thibodeaux's sergeants called him from Iraq on Thursday with the news that Thibodeaux had been shot in the head.

Thibodeaux's brother in Louisiana, Jerome, said he was killed when he got out of his vehicle to inspect damage from a roadside bomb. His unit was on patrol in Hawija, east of Kirkuk, when he was killed.

He was the only soldier killed after the bomb stopped a convoy of three vehicles.

Thibodeaux was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

Thibodeaux is the 12th soldier with Hawaii ties who has been killed in Iraq since the war started in March 2003.

Of the 13 deaths in Iraq, 12 were due to hostile action. Seven of them were from the 25th Infantry Division. There has been one civilian from Hawaii, Wesley Batalona of the Big Island, killed by insurgents.

In Afghanistan the 25th Division has lost three soldiers.

As of yesterday, 976 U.S. service members have died since the March 2003 beginning of military operations in Iraq, according to the Pentagon. Of those, 730 died as a result of hostile action, and 246 died of nonhostile causes.

Goodin, vice president of Diversified Equipment Inc., said he met Thibodeaux in October when his company was building a specialized shooting range at Schofield Barracks. Thibodeaux was one of the soldiers the Army sent to help with the range's requirements.

"He was part of a specialized team of nine guys, most of them snipers," Goodin said. "I was told he was one of their best pistol shooters. They seemed like a close bunch ... but he was a quiet guy who was really friendly. He was a hard worker. ... The guys used to come to my shop, so I got to know them pretty well."

Thibodeaux enlisted in the Army in August 2000 and had been stationed in Hawaii since January 2001 before being sent to Iraq seven months ago.

Besides his brother, Thibodeaux is survived by parents Joseph and Becky, and sister Brittany. Funeral services are pending.



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