William Ryan Thibeault Interview, March 20, 2020


Myles Pearsall



Download Audio Interview (62.2 MB)

Download Transcript of William Thibeault interview (167 KB)


William Thibeault describes his experiences serving in the United States Army. He talks about how he wanted to join the military since he was a young boy, and how he was inspired by the book, Band of Brothers, and its emphasis on camaraderie among soldiers. Thibeault discusses how he enjoyed the challenge of basic training at Fort Benning, and his excitement about learning to use different kinds of weaponry. He details his one station unit training [OSUT] that focused on tactical training, then staying an extra month for airborne school. Thibeault talks about being assigned to the 4th Division of the 10th Mountain Brigade at Fort Polk, Louisiana and his three deployments to Afghanistan between 2010 and 2015. He describes his various duties as an infantryman during his first deployment at the height of the troop surge. Thibault recalls transferring to the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne of the elite 187th Infantry Regiment when he re-enlisted at Fort Campbell. He reminisces about the legacy of the regiment. Thibeault talks about his second and third deployments with the 101st Airborne, comparing them to his first deployment during which he encountered much more fighting. He talks at length about the respect he had for his commanding officers and the unique bond that soldiers within a unit have. He notes that most civilians don’t understand this bond and that it can be difficult to explain unless you’ve served in the military. He concludes the interview by discussing why he chose to attend the University of Montana for forestry and the resources it provides to military veteran students.

A portion of this interview is restricted.


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Document Type

Oral History


U.S. Military; U.S. Armed Forces; Military veterans; War veterans; Active duty; Basic training; One station unit training [OSUT]; Fort Benning; Fort Polk; Fort Campbell; Airborne School; 10th Mountain Division; 197th Infantry Regiment; Elite military units; U.S. War in Afghanistan (1999-2020); Troop surge; Combat; Military weaponry; Bagram Air Base; Angel Company; Theater Reserve Force [TRF]; G.I. Bill; Military outpost; University of Montana, Missoula; Maine; Band of Brothers

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage

Georgia; Louisiana; Afghanistan; Montana



Original Collection

The Veteran’s Experience Oral History Project, OH 472

Holding Institution

University of Montana. Mansfield Library. Archives and Special Collections

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Holder

Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 / library.archives@umontana.edu

Oral History Number

OH 472-013

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 MP3 file (00:45:48): digital + 1 transcript (14 pp.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:45:48 minutes

Local Filename

OH_472_013.mp3; OH_472_013.pdf

William Ryan Thibeault Interview, March 20, 2020