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161st ARW Copperhead wins World Long Drive championship

161st ARW Copperhead wins World Long Drive championship

Arizona Air National Guard Maj. Mikael DuBois, 161st Air Refueling Wing pilot, poses for a photograph with his champion trophy after winning the 2019 Celebrating Service: Fort Jackson Military Long Drive Championship on May 7, 2019. DuBois secured his win in the final round with a 326-yard drive to best the eleven other competitors in the military division. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Dillon Davis)

161st ARW Copperhead wins World Long Drive championship

Arizona Air National Guard Maj. Mikael DuBois, 161st Air Refueling Wing pilot, poses for a photograph with his champion winning driver after winning the 2019 Celebrating Service: Fort Jackson Military Long Drive Championship on May 7, 2019. DuBois secured his win in the final round with a 326-yard drive to best the eleven other competitors in the military division. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Dillon Davis)

161st ARW Copperhead wins World Long Drive championship

Maj. Mikael DuBois celebrates his win at the Military Long Drive Championship May 7 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He placed first in the Military Division, representing the Air National Guard, hitting a drive of 326 yards to earn $10,000 and a place in the final round of the Long Drive competition. (DoD photo by Nicholas Salcido)

GOLDWATER AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ariz. --

From a young age, Arizona Air National Guard Maj. Mikael DuBois, a KC-135 Stratotanker pilot for the 161st Air Refueling Wing, dedicated a lot of free time to developing his golf game.

“I was introduced to golf when I was three with my dad in Port Arthur, Texas,” said DuBois. “We moved to League City, TX when I was in third grade where I played soccer, baseball and golf growing up. I loved being at the golf course and you could always find me there until dark most days.”

This interest really picked up in high school and college where DuBois found himself in an opportunity to play golf while earning a degree and following his goals.

“I played golf all through high school and was recruited to the U.S. Air Force Academy to play golf and chase my dream to become a pilot,” said DuBois.

 In 2010, DuBois took the opportunity to participate in a previous military long-drive competition, making it to the semifinal round. He attempted the event again in 2011, making it to the regional event.

“I made it into the regionals of the Long Drive Association the next year but life, deployments, an amazing marriage, and awesome kiddos happened so golf and long drive took the back burner,” said DuBois.

Unknowingly, DuBois would have to wait years for another chance to compete in the competition due to the military category of the event was not renewed until this year. When the opportunity to qualify for the Celebrating Service: Fort Jackson Military Long Drive Championship arose, DuBois jumped at the chance to compete once again.    

“When I saw the World Long Drive promoting The Exchange: Celebrating Service at Fort Jackson having a military division I was super stoked!” said DuBois. “Having been out of it for years, I couldn’t wait to get back in it!”

Because there hadn’t been a military long drive event for years, DuBois began preparing for the event in his limited free time mostly by strength training to help improve his driving power.

“I mainly prepared in the gym, and with being how small I am I needed all the help I could get,” said DuBois.

DuBois’s practice and strength training was enough to help him secure the title of 2019 World Long Drive Military Division Champion with his final drive of 326 yards in the final round.

“It’s an awesome feeling and an accomplishment I would have never thought possible in a million years, and it has always been a dream of mine,” said DuBois after winning the nationally televised event. “It was an honor to be able to represent the service men and women who are currently deployed in such an amazing event. And to be able to represent my home unit, the 161st Air Refueling Wing.”

In addition to winning first place at the championship event, DuBois also secured a berth in the Open Division of the 2019 Volvik World Long Drive Championship where he will compete alongside the biggest names in game.

“It’s something I could have never imagined,” said DuBois “I will be able to compete out there on the WLD alongside the best of the best, it is exhilarating!”

DuBois’s win really highlighted the public’s support of our service men and women.

“This whole experience has been absolutely incredible,” said DuBois. “There has been an overwhelming sense of congratulations and support. The cherry on top has been hearing, ‘you can compete out there’ from not only my military friends, but from people in the industry.”

His big moment was also shared with his family back at home while they watched him win the title on the Golf Channel.

“The best part of it was the FaceTime right after I won with my wife and kiddos,” said DuBois. “All my emotions set in when I saw their faces and how proud they were of me. It was so cool that they were able to watch me live on TV doing something that I love, hitting the golf ball far. My pops, who was able to make it out there with me, has always told me ‘it’s not how far, it’s how many’. Now I can officially say, ‘it is how deep!’”

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