FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Louis Thibeault takes pride in being a family man and a Soldier.

He said one of his happiest and most memorable days was marrying his wife, Claudia, and becoming a stepdad to their now 7-year-old son.

Another day that comes close, Thibeault said, is the first time he jumped from an airplane.

"I was at Fort Benning, Ga., at airborne school; it was 1993," he said. "It was surreal. You don't know what to expect your first time (jumping). There was fear and anxiety mixed with the unknown."

In addition to Fort Benning, Thibeault has had assignments at Vicenza, Italy; Fort Bliss, Texas; Suwon, South Korea; and Sherman Recruiting Station, Texas.

He has also deployed to Uganda for Operation Support Hope; Bosnia for Operation Joint Endeavor; and Eskan Village, Saudi Arabia.

The 16-year career Soldier hopes to make the rank of command sergeant major before he retires. And, he plans to one day open a computer consulting business.

His advice to the junior enlisted is to always possess an attitude of integrity.

"You have a choice with your actions. When you lead, your Soldiers (will) want to emulate you or they (will) want to be led by some else - whom they want to emulate," Thibeault said.

"The first is obtained not by friendship but by you having the want to lead, to succeed, to be fair, to understand and to look them in the eye and admit your mistakes. When you accomplish this you then take care of Soldiers."

We salute you!