Capt. DuBois returns to Colorado on Thursday
Western Coloradans have a chance Thursday to honor Air Force Capt. Will DuBois of New Castle, who died last week when his F-16 crashed in Jordan early in what was supposed to be an attack on ISIS.
DuBois’ body, accompanied by his parents and a law enforcement escort, will travel from the Grand Junction airport to Grand Valley Funeral Home. The procession is expected to follow Horizon Drive and 12th Street in Grand Junction at some point between 12:30 and 1:15 p.m. Thursday, the Air Force and DuBois’ father said.
The Air Force and the family hope area residents turn out with hand-held flags and will post signs along the route to honor the sacrifice and service of DuBois, 30, who graduated from Rifle High School in 2003 and the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2008 with a degree in aerospace engineering.
Thursday’s arrival in Colorado “is the homecoming that we’ve been so looking forward to,” his father, William “Ham” DuBois, owner of Innermountain Distributing in New Castle, told the Post Independent.
“We’re looking forward to each of these honors for Will,” Ham DuBois said, “but each one takes a toll.”
Air Force Maj. Gen. H.D. “Jake” Polumbo, Ninth Air Force commander at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, called Capt. DuBois a selfless leader.
“Capt. William ‘Pyro’ DuBois represents all that is good in our Air Force,” Polumbo said. “He was an engaging and personable young man who steered away from personal recognition while focusing on mission success with his fellow airmen in the 77th Fighter Squadron — the Gamblers.
Gov. John Hickenlooper added his condolences and praise for DuBois.
“He died fighting in a campaign for peace and stability — the ultimate act of bravery and selflessness,” the governor said. “We owe him a debt that can never be repaid. Our thoughts and prayers are with this fallen hero’s family.””
DuBois was recently married to Ashley Jones, whom he met while he was stationed in South Korea and she was teaching there. Ham DuBois told the Post Independent about their wedding in a park in Sumter, South Carolina, on Sept. 30 before DuBois deployed to fight ISIS, calling their romance “fairy tale stuff.”
Capt. DuBois died Dec. 1 when his F-16 was returning to base before engaging in the combat portion of its flight, the Pentagon said the day after the crash. Early reports said DuBois’ jet developed mechanical problems, but the Air Force said later that the crash is under investigation.
Results of that are expected in about a month.
Funeral services for DuBois will be at 11:35 a.m. Sunday at Rifle High School.
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The town would join Aspen and Glenwood Springs in prohibiting flavored tobacco sales and licensing retailers.