Dale Dubbs: the man, the myth, the legend

Claire Boyer

462 funerals. 176 carrier take-offs and landings. 88 missions. The numbers in Dale Dubbs´ life today are written on a whiteboard before a classroom filled with students but these are the numbers that defined a period in his life. Dubbs is the only service veteran on staff at Wiggins High School and he remembers these numbers like they were yesterday.

Dubbs’ plane was docked on the USS Hornet, which allowed him to be stationed close to Vietnam in order to act as ground support. Dubbs witnessed trial in war, sorrow, and saw the negativity the American people possessed for soldiers involved in the Vietnam War. Dubbs was an active member of the Marines during this time. He was the pilot of an aircraft known as the F-4, and he served as ground support for the American troops. Flying, especially as ground support, required immeasurable amounts of skill in the cockpit of an F-4. Dubbs, of course, possessed such skill and was able to be relied upon by many soldiers fighting on the ground. Dubbs recalls a specific job that entailed dropping Napalm over fire bases that were being overrun by enemy fighters. According to Dubbs, dropping Napalm slowed down the enemy’s advance into the American fire bases. This was an important task in the defense of our country during this violent time of adversary.

Another crucial job that allowed Dubbs to stay on American soil was a certain assignment called “weasel hunting.” Weasel hunting, as Dubbs described, was a search for missiles that had been reported to be seen as a threat to the country’s safety. The squad involved in the destruction of such missiles would fly to the location and retrieve the explosive. Dubbs made sure to point out that he was successful in the extraction of the missiles in every weasel hunt he was a part of.  

After the Air Force had been grounded in the later part of the war, Dubbs’ next task was to carry out a service known as Escort Duty. “Escort Duty,” Dubbs describes, “is when you pick up bodies of fallen service members, such as Marines.” After picking up the bodies, those on Escort Duty would return the fallen heroes to their homes and families. Dubbs describes this as his “most difficult mission.” Bringing individual men back to wives and children who had never met their father was, as you can imagine, heartbreaking. Dubbs never escorted a man without meeting and grieving with the family. Being the officer in charge, Dubbs was tasked with the assignment to conduct the military- sanctioned funerals for the soldiers that lost their lives. The American people owe escorts a great amount, but that debt was definitely not repaid during that violent time. Crowds of rowdy and upset Americans would sometimes meet the soldiers in the insecure parts of the airport where they would face disrespect, dishonor, and pure hatred from citizens for fighting in the Vietnam War. Dubbs says, “Because the Vietnam War was not a popular war among the American public, I would get spit on and called names while escorting the caskets of the fallen service men.” Years later, Dubbs can still recall all 462 escorts he partook in because of the impact it left on him and fellow service men.

As Veteran’s Day is approaching, it would be fitting for the youth as well as the adults of this community to honor and respect all Veterans for all they did to serve and protect our country. Servicemen like Dale Dubbs deserve to be recognized and thanked for the sacrifice they made. Honor the fallen, the wounded, and the living on this day, for America would not be the land of the free and the home of the brave without men like Dubbs.

 

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Vermin Supreme: A Boot on His Head and Change in His Heart

By Claire Boyer

Vermin Supreme: A presidential candidate who promises ponies, mandatory toothbrushing laws, and a brighter future. His goal is to not actually be elected, but rather to raise awareness about the downfall of the American political system today. Vermin Supreme, acting as a sort of mediator, has been known to occupy the streets in efforts to extinguish quarrels between fellow protesters and law enforcement before they even happen. Although his methods may appear outlandish, bizarre, and eccentric, Vermin Supreme catches the attention of citizens looking for a way to fight America’s current political injustices.

Starting with his attention-grabbing outfit, the boot that occupies the top of his head has no other purpose but to attract attention. It works. Supreme, who because of his outfit is often mistaken for a threat, is regularly approached by law enforcement who have concerns for the public’s safety. Vermin Supreme, in a documentary made about his political involvement, has stated that he has never had the intention of harming anyone. Supreme’s methods are as simple as marching down the street with a bullhorn, but the message he wishes to convey is much deeper.

Vermin Supreme first became active in political protests as he started forming and voicing his opinion during high school when police surveilled, and arrested students for using drugs on school grounds. Feeling threatened by what he viewed as an overreaction on the part of the police, Supreme took matters into his own hands and began a campaign in which he argued against the police’s’ surveillance of his fellow classmates. Supreme has set a precedent for youth as he has encouraged youth and shown them how, even at a young age, it is easy to speak their minds. Especially in today’s ever-changing society, future generations need to learn to express concern for issues involving the nation in which they reside. While he grew up in an era that was arguably ‘more free,’ Vermin Supreme refused to follow the crowd and comply when he felt that his freedoms were being infringed upon.

Reinforcing his physical appearance to illustrate how politics has become indiscernible from show business, Vermin Supreme mocks the empty promises made by candidates by making  his own outlandish promises to voters. One example of such promises includes his pledge to give a pony to every American. “If actually elected,” says Taylor Boyer, “Vermin Supreme isn’t going to give away ponies. He is opening people’s eyes; showing them that a lot of the promises that candidates make are just words to get them elected.” Boyer has been in the process of organizing a rally to present Supreme to the Morgan County community. According to Boyer, Supreme is capable of appealing to young, confused voters. Boyer believes hearing the brutal truth in a captivating, entertaining way will increase students’ knowledge about current and rising issues. Through his unconventional methods, Vermin Supreme has proven himself to be an effective advocate for free speech and individual freedom that he believes should be granted to all citizens of this nation.

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