NEW CASTLE, Colo. (CBS4) – An Air Force pilot from Colorado killed serving his country in the Middle East is being remembered in his hometown.
The military calls Capt. William H. “Will” Dubois honorable, adventurous and brave. The Pentagon says his plane crashed while supporting the operation against ISIS. For security reasons the military hasn’t shared where the F-16 went down.
Dubois grew up in New Castle in Garfield County near Glenwood Springs and graduated Rifle High School in 2003. CBS4’s Jeff Todd talked to Principal Todd Ellis, who was Dubois’ teacher before he was a pilot. He said Dubois always talked about flying.
“Will was in a special group of kids that remained close years afterwards …. the distances didn’t stop them from staying together, and I was fortunate to be a part of that, and it was neat,” Ellis said.
It’s a life that touched so many in the towns in Garfield County along the Colorado River.
“You have to understand Will and all the multiple talents that he had; I think at a large school he would have been involved in everything,” Ellis said.
Always wanting to be a pilot, Dubois’ first shot at attending the Air Force Academy wasn’t successful. He went to a flight school before graduating from the University of Colorado in Boulder and making his way into the Air Force.
“I’ve been on the phone with his buddies and we’ve talked about … we had a tradition that when we could get together over the years we’d make Christmas cookies — some pretty nasty looking gingerbread cookies that we would decorate,” Ellis said. “And we’re going to do that again this year and toast that to Will.”
“Losing Capt. Dubois is sad and tragic. Our most sincere condolences are with his family, his friends, and squadron members during this difficult time. Capt. Dubois was a patriot: was willing to put his life on the line every day in service to his nation. He was a valued airman, pilot, and friend of those he touched here at Shaw Air Force Base. He will be greatly missed,” Col. Stephen F. Jost, the commander of Dubois’ 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base, said in a statement.
Military officials say Dubois was flying a mission to fight ISIS in either Syria or Iraq. He had problems after takeoff and wasn’t able to return to the base. It’s not yet known why he couldn’t eject.
One friend told CBS4 he will always remember Dubois’ sense of humor.
Dubois was engaged to be married next Fourth of July.