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Retired master chief is new addition to Camden’s CG program

By Kristi Langenbacher

Correspondent

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Here’s what some Coast Guard and community leaders had to say about Dupree’s new assignment as Maritime Science Instructor with the Coast Guard Junior Leadership Program at Camden High School:

“The life lessons he learned in the Coast Guard will make a smooth transition to his new position, and will allow him to be a powerful mentor for the students.” - Master Chief Troy Kalbach

“We climbed different ladders to get where we are, and both perspectives are very valuable for these kids.” - Senior Maritime Science Instructor Algernon Keith

“You reach a point, and I think we’re at that point now, where it’s tough to grow the program with only one instructor” - Camden High School principal Billie Berry

Master Chief Lyn Dupree doesn’t see his retirement from the Coast Guard as an ending. He looks at his nearly 28 years of service as preparation for his next career.

Dupree retired from active duty at a ceremony on Jan. 15 in Elizabeth City. However, he will continue to wear his Coast Guard uniform when he begins his new job this week as the Maritime Science Instructor with the Coast Guard Junior Leadership Program at Camden County High School.

“I view my Coast Guard career as a training period for what is in store for me in the future,” Dupree said.

Dupree said he considers this area home, as he has been stationed in Elizabeth City many times, and his family has lived in Camden continuously since 2003. His first assignment in Elizabeth City was during aviation structural mechanic “A” School in 1991, just three years after he enlisted in the Coast Guard.

Dupree said many people have had a positive influence on his Coast Guard career, especially his older brother Gary Dupree, who was in the Coast Guard and encouraged his younger brother to join.

“Had it not been for the relationships that he had forged, and for the reputation he has earned in Coast Guard aviation, I would not be where I am today,” Lyn Dupree said. “He has made a big difference for me in the Coast Guard.”

Dupree said one of his most memorable tours was at the Aviation Logistics Center, known as the Aviation Repair and Supply Center, or ARSC, when he arrived in 1996. He worked as an aviation structural mechanic at the end of the line on the Coast Guard’s fleet of H-65 Dolphin helicopters.

“I flew on every H-65 in the inventory at that time, and visited all but six of the Air Stations during that tour. That was very meaningful for me,” he said.

During that time he also advanced to Second Class Petty Officer, then First Class Petty Officer. Dupree and his wife Toni had their first two children, Jacob and Elizabeth, during that tour.

The family returned to Elizabeth City in 2003 when Dupree was assigned to ARSC as the Chief Aviation Maintenance Technician. His third child, Emma, was born in Elizabeth City during that tour.

“We’ve been very fortunate that all of our kids have been born at Albemarle Hospital,” Dupree said. “All three of my kids have all started and will finish in the Camden School District uninterrupted.”

From 2007 to 2013 Dupree served at three more commands in Elizabeth City, including the C-130J Aircraft Project Office, Air Station Elizabeth City, and ALC, where he served as the Command Master Chief.

His final Coast Guard assignment was as the senior aviation scheduler at the Training Quota Management Center in Chesapeake, Va.

Master Chief Troy Kalbach, Command Master Chief at the Aviation Technical Training Center in Elizabeth City, served as Master of Ceremonies for Dupree’s retirement ceremony.

Kalbach called Dupree a good friend, and said he is well known throughout the Coast Guard for his character and professionalism.

“He was always ready to mentor both his junior and senior personnel and he always spoke truth to power,” Kalbach said, adding that he is sure Dupree will be successful in his new job as a JLP instructor. “The life lessons he learned in the Coast Guard will make a smooth transition to his new position, and will allow him to be a powerful mentor for the students.”

Looking back on his Coast Guard career, Dupree said it is easy for him to see God’s footprint all over his life and leading him up to this point.

“I believe that He prepared me to be the people-person that I am today,” he said. “He has prepared me as a man, a husband, a dad and a mentor, to get me ready to lead these young men and women in the JLP and work to make a huge difference in their lives.”

Dupree will be working with Senior Maritime Science Instructor Algernon Keith, who retired from the Coast Guard as a Captain after 24 years of active duty service.

Keith was been the only instructor in the program, since its inception at Camden County High School in 2010, and he is excited to have Dupree on board.

“It’s about time,” Keith said with a laugh. “It has been a challenge for one person to do this, but it’s not about me — it’s about the kids.”

Keith welcomes the addition, and said Dupree was his first choice.

“A senior enlisted person, especially one of his caliber, brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and counsel to these kids,” Keith said.

Most similar programs for high school students have a retired officer and an enlisted member as instructors, and Keith said it’s important for the students to hear the perspective of an officer and an enlisted member.

“We climbed different ladders to get where we are, and both perspectives are very valuable for these kids,” Keith said. “He will be very good counsel for them, and will offer a different perspective.”

Billie Berry, who began his career as the school principal the same year that the JLP began at Camden, said the school is excited to have a second instructor for the program.

“You reach a point, and I think we’re at that point now, where it’s tough to grow the program with only one instructor,” he said. “One guy can only do so much.”

Berry said Dupree is the perfect fit for the position because he has the experience, offers the perspective of a senior enlisted Coast Guard member and has ties to the community.

Dupree said he is excited to stay in the community he loves, and gladly accepts the privilege to begin what he sees as an extension of his Coast Guard service.

“How many people that retire from the Coast Guard get to continue wearing the uniform for another 15 years? For all intents and purposes, I am going to be the longest running Master Chief in Coast Guard history,” Dupree said.

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