GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Air Force Captain William Dubois' body was returned to Grand Junction this afternoon. Captain Dubois, of New Castle, died when his F-16 crashed near a coalition base in the Middle East.
Down Horizon and 12th, all the way to Grand Avenue, more than four mile journey, Dubois’ procession was met with community members all along the way. Veterans, moms, dads and total strangers were waving flags to pay their respect to our fallen hero.
"It’s these heroes and brave souls that give us our freedom,” said Tom Kelley, whose son is in Air Force.
Captain William Dubois was only 30 years old when he lost his life fighting for our country, on a mission to support the U.S. mission against Islamic state fighters in Syria. Pride and respect was abundant today as our community supported and honored his life, and his sacrifice for our freedom.
"We as a group, just thank God the Lord Jesus that there is still young men and women who will serve to protect the constitution, protect the country, and the last baste of freedom," said Alfred Gabelli, a Vietnam Veteran who was a part of the procession today.
The Department of Defense didn't release a lot about the crash that killed the captain. Published reports say his jet developed a maintenance problem shortly after takeoff, and crashed as he attempted to return to base.
Local veterans, who participated in the procession today, said with tears in their eyes, that the duty of soldiers is to put their lives on the line, for our freedom.
"That's what we do. That's the freedoms we enjoy. Without it, we aren't going to have anything we would like to have," said Art Groady-Edwards, a Patriot Guard Riders in the procession, as well as a Navy Veteran.
The entire state is paying tribute to this brave airman. Governor Hickenlooper ordered flags lowered to half-staff through Sunday across all of Colorado, in honor of Dubois.
The funeral for Captain William Dubois is on Sunday, at Rifle High School. It will involve military honors, it's open to the public, and starts at 11:30 a.m.