Guardsman surpasses 40 years of service

By STAFF SGT. MICHAEL WILLIAMS,

CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait —Reflecting on a career that has spanned more than four decades, a Mississippi Army National Guard soldier says he did it for the younger generation.

Sgt. 1st Class Jimmie Gibbs, a native of Webb, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1979 as a unit supply specialist. Formerly, the Army military occupational specialty was classified as a 76Y, but has since changed to 92Y. Forty years later, he is still serving and leading soldiers in that same military occupation.

“When I enlisted, I really didn’t think anything of it,” said Gibbs. “I basically joined because I wanted to experience the Army life and wanted to be a good leader for the younger generation that was coming in.”

After serving three years on active duty, Gibbs was honorably discharged out of the Army and returned home to support his family. That is when he joined the Mississippi Army National Guard.

In spite of the changes, two things remained constant in Gibbs’ career: his job and being the best leader he could be.

“I wanted to make a difference for the younger soldiers,” said Gibbs. “That’s why I stayed in the National Guard all this time.”

And with that, Gibbs recalls several soldiers that have looked up to him, saying they want to follow in his footsteps.

“They look up to me as their grandfather or father,” said Gibbs. “I just love what I do and that’s being a good role model for these younger soldiers.”

As for himself, Gibbs lives by his motto that he tells soldiers all the time, “Be where you are supposed to be, do what you are supposed to do, and you can accomplish just about anything.”

When asked why he has served his country this long, Gibbs acknowledges two things, his wife and a long-term commitment to himself.

“I met my wife as I was going through the service,” said Gibbs. “And she’s the main one who encouraged me to stay in this long. Also, this has been one of my long-term goals and I feel that I have accomplished that.”

He doesn’t know what the future holds, but he says he is grateful for family support and the opportunity to serve in the Mississippi Army National Guard.

“Thank you to my family back at home for being supportive on this 40-year journey,” he said. “And thank you to the 155 also for being supportive.”

Staff Sgt. Michael Williams is with the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office in Kuwait.


IN THE PHOTO: Sgt. 1st Class Jimmie Gibbs, a native of Webb, was recently awarded an Armed Forces Reserve Medal with both gold and bronze hourglass devices for reaching his 40th year of military service.  He presently serves in the Mississippi Army National Guard.  (Photo special to The Sun-Sentinel)