Mikael Dubois still hasn’t quite realized what he achieved at the Exchange Celebrating Service: Fort Jackson earlier this month, and that’s mostly due to the fact that he hasn’t had the time. Dubois left Fort Jackson, $10,000 richer after winning the Military Division with a 326-yard drive on his final ball and went straight back to work.
“I got back from Fort Jackson on Wednesday night [May 8] and had to fly on Thursday,” said Dubois, who flies a KC-135 refueling aircraft for the Arizona Air National Guard. “We ended up refueling a C-130 [transport aircraft] at around 200 knots, so that’s barely moving across the ground and then we had F-16s [fighter aircraft] right after them so we had to push it all the way up to 315 knots, so for those you’re going like 507 miles per hour.”
Yes, he’s that guy who flies the plane that refuels the other planes in mid-air and in his own words, “It’s crazy to think about putting two big planes within eight feet of each other. It’s not very safe.”
While Dubois currently flies the plane that does the refueling, he knows the stress level of being the pilot in the other seat waiting to be refueled.
“I flew AWACS [Airborne Early Warning & Control Systems] during active duty, so I know the other side too. When we’re doing the refueling, we’re sitting there on autopilot, but I remember being the guy getting the gas and working my butt off for about 17 minutes.”
Even though Dubois went straight back to work, he hasn’t stopped thinking about what happened at Fort Jackson.
“It was such an amazing experience. It was great to get home and watch it with my wife and my little three-year-old who said, ‘daddy win.’ It’s still kind of surreal and I was telling everyone that it was an amazing experience and a blast to be able to do that.”
In addition to his duties with the Arizona Air National Guard, Dubois also flies for Southwest Airlines. After he flew with the Guard on Thursday (May 9), he flew with Southwest on Friday and Saturday, and then headed to Milwaukee on Sunday for some extra Guard training. Given his busy flying schedule, he’s quick to point out that on the rare occasion that he does get time off, he’s spending it with his family.
“I can’t really do much [long drive practice] because as a two job, career guy that takes away from family time. So, when I do get free time I go to the gym because golf kind of goes out the window. I started playing golf when I was three, so luckily my swing doesn’t really leave me because I really only get to play about 10 times a year. If I’m on the road with the Guard, that’s usually the best time for me to sneak out with a few of the guys and get a couple of rounds in. I’d like to get more involved, but when I’m home, I like to spend my time with the kiddos.”
Dubois is a family man. His kids come first even though it’s quite possible that – if given the amount of requisite time to compete – he could contend on the World Long Drive circuit. That notion in itself is an ironic one for the 5-foot-10-inch, 180-pound Dubois (who played collegiate golf while attending the Air Force Academy in Colorado), given that when he was younger, people doubted his ability to hit the ball far enough to be competitive in golf.
“Look at me now,” he laughs, knowing he’s proven them all wrong. “I was always the littlest guy, and people used to say, ‘you need to hit it farther’ while I was on the high school team, and that I didn’t have the length to be a college player. My dad has always said, ‘It’s not how far, it’s how many,’ and now that’s come full circle. As a golfer [now] having my swing analyzed on TV after hitting a 350-yard drive, I can say ‘it’s not how many, it’s how far.’”
Not to be lost in winning the Military Division at Fort Jackson is the exemption Dubois earned into the Open Division at the 2019 Volvik World Long Drive Championship in September.
Unfortunately as luck would have it, he is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in August just weeks prior to the Championship. However, he’s currently engineering a proposition to switch deployments with a fellow Air National Guard member that would allow him to compete on the Texas/Oklahoma border amongst the top hitters in the world.
“I think I found a trade with another guy, so I’m hoping – and should know – in the next couple of days, but [it’s looking positive].”
However, if Dubois isn’t able to move things around, it’s possible that World Long Drive could elect to allow him to defer his exemption until the 2020 World Long Drive Championship.
“I mean, if I’m not able to go this year, that would be awesome. [For them to] even consider that to help me out with the circumstances, I would really appreciate that.”