Dutch was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and graduated from Tri County High School in 1987. He went on to study fine art at Western Michigan University and also work in construction. During this time he met Cara, his wife of over 30 years, also a Michigan native. They were married shortly before he enlisted in the Army as a Field Artilleryman.
Dutch spent the majority of his enlisted career as a cannon crew member, and forward observer in the 82nd Airborne Division, and the 101st Airborne Division.
In 2001, he was accepted into Warrant Officer Candidate School. That autumn he, and fellow students at the Targeting Officers Basic Course at Ft Sill, Oklahoma, watched while the Twin Towers fell, altering the course of their lives dramatically. Dutch returned to the 82nd Airborne Division and committed the next thirteen years of his life to the Global War on Terror.
Chief Warrant Officer Four DeHaan was medically retired in 2013 after twenty-two years of service. He promptly adopted a dog and moved Cara to the North Carolina Coast. After retirement, Dutch reclaimed his love of all things outdoors and was introduced to the gift of fly fishing. His time on the coast was key to gaining insight into why transition out of the military can be so difficult, even traumatic for many service members, himself included.
Wanting to be closer to their family, Dutch, and Cara moved back to Michigan last year. They now live in a small, lakeshore town south of Detroit minutes from their married son, a commercial diver, and father to a one-year-old boy named Dutch. They have an adult daughter as well, she is a graduate of East Carolina University, and coaches gymnastics. She is married to a Recon Marine, and they live near Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. She is due this spring with her first child, a boy.
Dutch still travels to NC regularly and knows a few choice freestone streams up in the northwest part of the state. He’s learning to catch walleye like a local but still considers the spring Steelhead run in Northwest Michigan to be the most important event on his calendar.Back to Alumni Council