Will “Pyro” DuBois was born on August 14, 1984 and lived a life of adventure, travel, sports, love, and immense friendship in his short 30 years. He is survived by his wife, Ashley; his father and mother, Ham and Donna; his sister, Devon; his nephew, Karsen.
Growing up in the small town of New Castle, Colorado, his youth was spent in constant motion: harassing his sister, and participating in sports of all kinds from basketball, soccer, baseball, and swimming, to eventing horses even competing in the North American Young Riders Championship. While attending Rifle High School, Will was involved in choir, soccer, track, school plays, the National Honor Society, and was elected Senior class president.
The Air Force awarded Will a full ride ROTC scholarship in Aerospace Engineering which allowed him to graduate with honors at University of Colorado in Boulder including the Distinguished Graduate award from the 105th ROTC detachment unit. Daniel Kulp, a friend of DuBois, posted on the Air Force ROTC Detachment 105 Alumni Chapter Facebook page that “we all owe him a debt of gratitude. He was a great leader, cared deeply about his friends and family and was just the nicest damn guy I ever met,” Kulp wrote. “He was generous, kind, and at the same time had the heart of a true warrior. He was larger than life, but didn’t have the ego to realize it, only confidence that comes from being good at your job due to hard work and dedication.”
Although Will was dedicated to academics, leadership, and becoming the best Air Force officer, he found time to join the Kappa Sigma fraternity. Upon graduation he learned that he was accepted into an elite pilot training program, ENJEPT (Euro Nato Joint Jet Pilot Training) at Sheppard Air Force base and proceeded on to F16 training at Luke AFB.
His first assignment in 2011 was Kunsan, Korean where he proudly flew for the 35th fighter squadron, known as the Pantons, and earned the call sign, Pyro. It was there that he met the love of his life, Ashley Jones. In September 2013, he returned to the states and was based at Shaw AFB in the 77th fighter squadron, the Gamblers, also known as “The world's greatest”.
DuBois’s unit had deployed in support of Inherent Resolve in October and flew out of an unnamed base. DuBois’ wingman encountered a problem after takeoff, and they were attempting to return when he crashed on December 1, 2014.
Ashley and Will married just days before he was deployed to the middle-east. Ashley had these words to say, “I close my eyes and hear him laughing and see him smile and I’m forever grateful for all the love and joy that he brought to my life. Push it up and double down my love.
”Family held the highest priority in his life. He made everyone around him better. DuBois’ sister Devon said her brother “Is the most amazing, loving, caring person I have ever known. He would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need. He died doing what he loved, and I hope one day that will help give us some peace.”
“He was the best man I ever knew,” DuBois’ father, William DuBois Sr. said. “He had a short life that was so well-lived. He lived life to the fullest. He lost his life being a hero,”
His mother, Donna DuBois, said her son was “Anything but generic. What can you say about the most wonderful person to walk the planet?” she said. “Family held the highest priority in his life. He made everyone around him better. I was a better person having him as my son.”
Standing proud in Grand River Park, you'll find the community-funded memorial statue commemorating Capt. William H. "Pyro" DuBois.
The Viper Driver's Toast
This was a toast Will gave at the wedding of his good friends Kyllie & Mike. Kyllie had heard a Marine toast but found it rather distasteful and asked Will to write a Viper Drivers Toast (Mike was a fellow viper driver).
On the flight into Denver for the nuptials this is what he contrived, adapted and came up with.
I'm a lover, I'm a fighter.
I'm an F-16 Viper Driver.
That's an f-ing A, Fox-3, rifle, wpn away,
single seat, single engine, supersonic
defender of freedom Fighter pilot.
Against me - you can run.
There's no valley too low, definitely no mountain too high.
Because yay though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I fear no evil.
For I am Mach 1 at 40k feet...and climbing.
Ever been in a knife fight in a phone booth?
I have, at 20k feet and 500 knots pulling 9Gs...
And I won.
I'll fly up my own smoke trail,
just to send a sidewinder down yours.
I drop LGBs, SDBs, BDUs, JDAMs
on static, stationary, movers and maneuverers.
And I Shack.
And if I miss...expect 77 rounds of 20MM to shortly follow.
Anything in life worth doing, is worth over doing.
Moderation is for cowards.
I wine, dine, intertwine and love the fine things in life that are
So if you’re feeling like a fight, remember I'm a lover and a fighter.
So watch your step.
And I can get you anytime, anywhere.
Land, sea, air, space, hell cyberspace.
But right now, let me be a lover.
And maybe even a drinker!
By taking part in our annual trail run or donating directly to our scholarship fund, you're helping us honor the memory of Will "Pyro" DuBois by helping deserving candidates to follow in his footsteps.