The United States of America Department of Defense thinks John C. DuBose III is pretty special.
They just awarded him the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
DuBose was awarded the prestigious honor by the Secretary of Defense for his service as the Operations Coordinator at the US Embassy in Madagascar. The native Texan and former Gonzales resident had requested — and then applied for — the special duty in 2016. He was later chosen to serve there from Sept. 2016 to May 2018.
The citation reads in part: “This is to certify that the Secretary of Defense has authorized the award of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal to Chief Petty Officer John C. DuBose, United States Navy, for Exceptionally Meritorious Service for the Armed Forces of the United States September 2016 to May 2018.”
The document was signed by the Defense Intelligence Agency Deputy Director of Operations, Coleen S. Kalina, for the Secretary of Defense.
“It was quite an honor and an unexpected one at that,” DuBose said a few weeks ago. “My boss awarded it to me at a going away party when my tour ended in Madagascar. I was able to share it with my boss, friends and fellow embassy members before I left to come back to the states.
“Yes, I am pretty proud of it.”
DuBose left Madagascar with a prestigious citation, but with heavy heart.
“A piece of my heart will always be there,” DuBose said. “I love the Malagasy people, and they really needed and appreciated our help. I will miss that part of my duty, but in the United States Navy, duty sometimes takes you elsewhere.”
DuBose speaks of his career in the Navy with deference, as if he sometimes doesn’t believe all of the things he has accomplished and seen in his rise to Chief Petty Officer.
He was born to John DuBose Jr. and the former Tina Bingham. He lived in Dayton, Texas where he played golf and football for a while. He was graduated in 1999. He has one sister named Melissa Varga who is a teacher in Shiner, Texas.
“When I was young and just getting out of high school, I was like most kids and didn’t have a whole lot of goals,” DuBose recalled. “I needed something. I heard the stories of my grandfather and great grandfather who had served in the U.S. Army and they always made me proud.
“Honestly, if I had not joined the Navy who knows where I’d be right now.”
John was working in a lumberyard warehouse in 2001. His building had a bathroom connected to the office location of the United States Navy recruiting office. Every time he would walk through the building in front of the recruiter the Navy man would call out, “Hey DuBose, get over and get signed up.”
As time went by, DuBose became more and more convinced that the military was his best option as a future career. Due to the Army influence of his grandfathers, he was going to enlist in the Army. The day he went to enlist it just so happened the former Navy recruiter saw him and got him to join the Navy.
DuBose’s career as a sailor has taken off ever since.
He joined the Navy and went to basic training at the Great Lakes Training center in Illinois. He went to a school in Dann Neck, Va., and earned his MOS as an operations specialist in radar.
He was then assigned to the USS John S. McCain, where he did deployments in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. During this time he earned two Navy achievement medals.
He was then assigned to, “10 years of absolutely wonderful duty in San Diego,” before landing on the USS Lake Champlain in the Arabian Gulf escorting the powerful aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. During the surge of 2006, he was granted a special 10-month assignment on TDY with an augmentation team in Baghdad whose responsibility was to discover and shoot down any incoming missiles aimed at US targets in Baghdad.
“It was a lot of sophisticated gunnery duty using radar, and I had a really good time there,” DuBose said. “It was an all Navy team there, and I felt like we were an important part of the defense and made a difference.”
After Baghdad, DuBose has attended and then been an instructor at the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center. He has served on the Freedom Class frigate USS LaToro and USS Ft. Worth, two of the Navy’s newest ships in fighting modern warfare. They are fast, computerized, and employ some of the latest in stealth technology.
After his stint in Madagascar, DuBose is headed to Ft. Everett, Washington to join the destroyer USS Shoop. When he gets there, Chief Petty Officer DuBose III will be the lead and Chief Petty Office in Radar technology.
DuBose was modest when I congratulated him for being promoted to the Lead Chief Petty Officer, which is a rank held in high esteem in the United States Navy.
“It is cool,” DuBose said with a smile. “I am excited to have my own team and work with them on their training.”
When asked how long he plans to stay in the Navy, DuBose smiled and said coyly, “We’ll just have to see about that. I look at each opportunity as it comes along and presents itself.
“But getting to be a Senior Chief would be a goal, and getting to do everything I’ve experienced in the Navy, well, I’m pretty happy right now.”