The Dubois Family Doubles Down
August 21, 2020 (CAMP BUEHRING, KUWAIT) — “I wouldn’t say that military service is a tradition in my family,” said Spc. Sarah Dubois. “But it’s pretty nice having all my siblings serve.”
As an airfield management specialist with Alpha Company, 834th Aviation Support Battalion, Sarah is currently deployed with her sister, Pfc. Nicole Dubois, an automated logistic specialist with the same unit. Both sisters are extremely new to the unit, having both come to Alpha Company straight from their Advanced Individual Training (AIT) courses.
“I still had a month left of AIT when our company began to mobilize at Fort Hood,” said Sarah. “It’s been super reliving to have my sister here, as I didn’t know anyone when I got here.”
Not only do the sisters have support of each other in theater, they also have their three other siblings, Heidi, Matthew, and Sarah’s twin sister Samantha, at home in Minnesota. With all the Dubois having served with the Minnesota National Guard, it forges a strong bond of understanding for the siblings both in and out of uniform.
“It began with my eldest sister, Heidi, and eventually we all joined,” said Nicole. “It’s helpful because we can talk to them and they can all relate to our experiences.”
Their eldest sister Heidi deployed to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait in 2018-2019 with the 34th Infantry Division, and provided some much-needed insight into what to expect on a deployment to the Middle East to her younger sisters. She completed her first enlisted contract and has since decided to pursue other career paths outside of the National Guard.
Spc. Matthew Dubois and Pfc. Samantha Dubois are both military police with the 34th Military Police Company based out of Stillwater, Minnesota. They anticipated a busy year in 2020, as they prepared for their first deployment in August to the Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in support of Joint Task Force Guantanamo to provide base security. However, with the escalation of civil unrest in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, Matthew and Samantha joined the more than 5,000 other Minnesota National Guard members called up to protect life, property and maintain order within the city of Minneapolis and surrounding areas in May 2020.
“The riots made me nervous for my siblings,” said Nicole. “I knew that people were throwing rocks at them and I just didn’t want them to get hurt.”
“I was shocked,” said Sarah. “I didn’t realize how severe things were getting at home.”
Shocked and anxious for their family and fellow service members at home, Sarah and Nicole watched the rising tensions in the Twin Cities and the COVID-19 pandemic sweep through their state and nation from afar. Every Soldier deployed with the 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade felt this anguish and tension at home. When preparing for deployment, military families expect the deployed Soldier to face the majority of the hardships. However, in many ways 2020 has tested us all at home and abroad.
“While on deployment it feels like your whole life stops for a year,” said Nicole. “But, with COVID-19 and everything I feel like everyone else at home had to put their life on hold as well.”
As Sarah and Nicole enter into the final stage of their 10-month deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield, Matthew and Samantha have just begun theirs. The overlap in deployments means that the Dubois family will not be fully present for over two years.
“It truly is heartbreaking knowing that I won’t see them for two years,” said Sarah. “Especially my twin sister, I’m going to miss her a bunch. We’ve never missed a birthday together until this year.”
Despite the challenges they face as a military family, the Dubois continue to serve proudly, with Sarah even volunteering to extend her deployment with the incoming aviation unit for another year.
“My siblings are my best friends,” said Sarah. “We’d pretty much do everything together.” Serving their state and nation in the Minnesota National Guard is just one of the many things the Dubois siblings do together as a family.
Story by Sgt. Sydney Mariette