This year’s Irishman of the Year hails from northeast Philly. As a young man he was surrounded by a wonderful family who imparted the strong core values of loyalty, respect, self-discipline and dedication to making a difference in everything that you do.

Chip enlisted in the United States Marines in 1980. He quickly climbed the ranks and landed at Camp Pendleton, followed by an assignment to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. This was a very fortunate set of orders as it was here that he first met his new Commanding Officer, Friendly Sons legendary Colonel Jack Kelly.

CWO Dykes was always at the top of his peer group at every assignment, demonstrating the same core values he learned as a young man back in Philadelphia. While at MCRD he made his way to many of San Diego’s most notable pubs, such as the Blarney Stone, Rosy O’Grady’s, The Ould Sod, The Beachcomber, and The Pennant, embracing his Irish culture and lending a hand when called upon. Chip also served the community in various part time engagements, filling in as a bouncer at The Comber and a clerk at the Liquor Locker on Morena Boulevard.

Chip became a Friendly Son in 1987!

CWO Dykes went on to serve in the 1st Marine Division and was part of one of the first units to deploy to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield, where he remained on station in the desert for nine months through Operation Desert Storm. He returned to a warm “Welcome Home” ceremony thrown by his friends and family and of course, his brothers from The Friendly Sons.

As a US Marine, Chip was always striving to make an impact and easily pinned on Warrant Officer. He deployed again to the Persian Gulf, this time on US Navy ship with Battalion Landing Team 1/4. His liberty habits were so impressive, he led U.S. Navy Shore Patrol teams in Phuket, Thailand and Hong Kong. He was known throughout many units as an expert in his profession and most notably for his dedication to taking care of the Marines in his charge.

After 22 years in uniform, CWO Dykes retired from active duty in 2002.

Chip’s determination and drive continued after leaving the Marines, as he jumped right into the private sector as a young entrepreneur. He built his own business from the ground up, while also finding time to serve his community. As a USMC leader, he knew the importance of taking care of his Marines, and this also fed his passion for helping military veterans. He was sought out to serve on many boards, eventually holding president positions with the San Diego Veteran’s Council, The Tri-City Council of the US Navy League, the SGT MAJOR Crow Crawford chapter of the United States Marine Corps Drill Instructors Association, past Chairman of the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, the Veteran’s Association of North County, and most recently the Commander of American Legion Post 365.

This Friendly Son maintained his dedication to community service, diving into politics and building a strong network across San Diego County. In 2012 he tossed his hat in the ring and ran a hard-fought election for Oceanside City Council. The challenges of politics were no match for Chip, he always spoke from the heart and continued to focus on helping veterans in San Diego and around the country.

CWO Dykes also applied his energy and enthusiasm in celebrating and promoting his Irish heritage, serving as an active and ambitious member of the Friendly Sons for now nearly 30 years. Chip worked his way from SGT at Arms to become the President of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in 2009-2010. Chip also maintained his North County connections to found and lead the North County chapter of the Friendly Sons, serving as their President.

It is with the highest honor and respect that we, The Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick, select Junior Parade Master for Life, CWO Chip Dykes, as our Irishman of the Year for 2017.