About Kenny Dupar

About Kenny Dupar

I was raised in Milwaukee and attended the party school of the University of Wisconsin. After falling into academic probation as a freshman I realized I needed structure, like joining the ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps). Adopted by the Army family, I became a Badger and a pro beer drinker along the way.

All the squared away cadets were prior service, so naturally I enlisted in the Army Reserve and became Private First Class Dupar. Two summers at Fort Knox were the most miserable and valuable military training I ever received. Graduating with a degree in Political Science (emphasis on American Foreign Policy and Economics) qualified me to cut grass or go to law school, so I enthusiastically requested Active Duty before commissioning as a Second Lieutenant. But the Army downsized after the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and didn’t need many new officers. A bewildering and crushing career path ensued in the civilian world.

A few short stories and metered poems, a few creative writing classes gave me flashes of joy but the craft became like a musical instrument never picked back up. Subject matter seemed stuck in the pathetic genre of not being able to get laid. Circumstances raced ahead of playfulness and my creative dreams drowned.

I was living in Miller Valley again when I was referred to an Engineer outfit. In a short interview, the Battalion Commander said he could change my branch from Infantry. Now I had already learned in my short career that competing with other men on toughness was like watching lions eat their young, eventually I’d be on the menu. It was far wiser to cross the retirement finish line in one piece and NOT jump out of airplanes or hump it on my back. Incidentally, I don’t believe in suffering. I had seen the light!

The US Army Corps of Engineers became my tribe and I learned the basics of project management, road building, demolitions and timber frame construction. Next, I began a Carpentry Apprenticeship to compliment my ad hoc career. My study of porter, hefeweizen, lager, ale, and stout brews never ceased.

In 1999, I got married, procreated a honeymoon baby, was promoted to Captain, given a Company Command of over a hundred Soldiers and went into heart failure all in the span of three months. I’m feeling much better now.

A year after 9/11, I was mobilized under Operation Enduring Freedom. They promised me a year’s vacation in Iraq but at the last moment the Army became concerned about my health. The irony of sending me to war but being worried about my well-being was lost in regulations. Modern pharmaceuticals have kept me alive thus far. How I got on the airplane will forever be shrouded in mystery.

The war changed me. You bet. More mature, more vulnerable. Seeing people living in garbage dumps and slums, seeing people get hurt; you can experience that in the US, but the scale is much greater in a war.

Being a smart ass doesn’t mean that I don’t care. I just prefer to laugh, shake it out, rather than concentrate on the awful bits.

I deployed to Iraq at the start of the war and again at the end, in between training others in Counter Insurgency doctrine. I became a SME (subject matter expert) and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 30 years of service in the Army Reserve, eight of those on active duty. According to Military courtesy, I should be addressed as, “Colonel, or Sir.” Colonel Kenny. That has a nice ring to it. “Hey you” works just as well.

If you’ve ever met a person just happy to be alive, that’s me.

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