Capt. Will DuBois was not afraid to try anything

The F-16 pilot, who went by the call sign “Pyro,” was an athlete, equestrian and scuba diver, his family said.

“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 was so much more.”

DuBois, 30, was killed Dec. 1 when his F-16 crashed on a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in the middle East.

“He lost his life being a hero,” DuBois said.Will 11

“I loved him with all my heart and soul and I’m lucky to call him my husband,” his wife Ashley DuBois said in a statement released by the family. “And 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.”

DuBois’s unit had deployed to the region in October, and flew out of an unnamed base. DuBois encountered a problem after takeoff and attempted to return to base when he crashed at about 11 p.m.

The Defense Department is not naming the location of the crash due to “host nation sensitivities,” according to a release.

DuBois was assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. In a video statement, Col. Stephen Jost, the commander of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw, said losing DuBois is “sad and tragic.”

“Our most sincere condolences are with his family, his friends and squadron members during this difficult time,” Jost said. “Capt. DuBois was a patriot, who 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.”

The crash is the second fatal F-16 mishap in two years for the 77th Fighter Squadron. On April 2, 2013, Capt. James Steel was killed when his jet crashed into a mountain near Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan following a close air-support mission.

DuBois grew up in the small town of New Castle, Colorado, and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he was a member of the school’s Reserve Officer Training Corps. 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.”

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,” she said in the statement from the family. “I miss him terribly [everyday] and will give every day for the rest of my life. He died doing what he loved and I hope one day that will help give us some peace.”

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.”

Will 1Will 2Will 3      Will 5Will 4

9 comments on “Capt. Will DuBois was not afraid to try anything
  1. Very moving. (& I like the cigar).
    Next year I’ll try to make it to the Trail run ~

    • William H. DuBois Sr. says:

      Thank You Rosco, we’d love to have you there next year.
      The cigar pic is from when he had just completed his first solo in AF pilot training. A big moment in an AF pilots journey. He was soon after “dunked” in the water tank by all his fellow trainees. But you can see in his face the elation and knowledge that “future’s so bright-I’ve got to wear shades”.
      One of my personal favorite pics!

  2. Very inspiring message. I remember Ham and Donna being leaders in the effort to start a pre-school for New Castle kids; our kids all attended “Dandylion Preschool” in the 1980’s. The effort paid off-I learned that preschool is an essential part of American Workforce support. Thanks to the DuBois family for their community Spirit!

  3. Jeanie grooms says:

    Had an absolute blast today and really want to say Thank You for a job well done by everyone! Will be back next year! I will spread the word about your race! And thanks for the shot! J. Grooms

  4. Micheal Hill says:

    Capt William “Pyro” DuBois will be 1 of 99 members honored in South Carolina on Nov 7th and 8th. Relay runners will travel from Charleston to Columbia honoring 1 member per mile. A short bio will be read and a flag placed at their mile marker. It would be great if any family member or friends could be there when the runners arrive at his mile marker “102” @ 1130 on November 8th 2015. Another 77th member will be honored at mile marker “107” @ 1220 as we travel closer to the state house and end with an open to the public 5K. Please visit for more info. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have about this event.

    • Donna DuBois says:

      That’s a very touching tribute to my son and all the fallen soldiers. I don’t know that anyone from our family can attend as we all live in Colorado now, but I’ll see if I can find a friend to represent us there.

      • Micheal Hill says:

        I am so sorry that I never got this message. Can you reply to
        We have your shirts from last year. If I can get your shirts sizes and address we will mail them out to you. The shirts will be gold since you are a gold star family. We are approaching our second year and have requested members of the 77th run his mile. Here is the video from last year.
        And if you would like any details edited on his bio/pic on our website ( please let us know

  5. Bill says:

    To the Family & friends of Capt. Will “Pyro” Dubois:
    I didn’t know the guy, I just followed a link from a story on Linkedin, written by a casual friend. But i feel like I know him now – at least a little bit. I tell myself he’s still flying – that he filed an eternal flight plan. Why does it sometimes seem that we lose our best and brightest too young? Anyway, Capt. Will “Pyro” Dubois will now live in MY memory -even if I forget. For all he did, and for his family and friends, this few minutes of my time has been well spent, and yes, THIS is part of HIS legacy, too. I’m sorry for your loss, and may my few words bring some comfort, peace, hope, and inspiration. After all, he was flying an F-16 EAGLE.

    • Donna DuBois says:

      Thanks for your touching comments, Bill! He is indeed flying with the eagles that soar over my house on the Colorado River!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *