Hometown Heroes: Springfield vet ‘went from a boy to a man’ in military

Name: James "Jim" Stouffer

Hometown: Springfield

Current Residence: Springfield

Family: Wife, Edith; two sons, Bob (Jeany) and Jim (Kathy); and four wonderful grandchildren, Hudson, Sutton, Breanne and Brayden.

Career after the military: Navistar International for 33 years and Clark County Sheriff's Office for 5½ years as the concealed-carry administrator.

Hobbies: Fishing, hunting and golf.

Branch of the service: United States Air Force

Did you join or were you drafted? Enlisted

Dates of Service: September 1963 to September 1967

Deployments/bases: Eglan Air Force Base, Fla.; Mactan Air Base, Philippines; Clark Air Base, Philippines; and Da Nang, Vietnam.

Total time that you served: Four years

What did you do in the service? Aircraft ground equipment repairman.

What did you gain from serving in the military? A greater respect for our country and thankfulness to God for the blessings that come my way. Also, the opportunity to see how the real world is.

What stands out as something memorable: Several things that stand out are — Shaking my boot out while on TDY to the Dominican Republic in order to get the tarantulas out of them; seeing little children climbing all over garbage trucks with their little tin buckets trying to get their next meal in Vietnam; peering out of bunkers watching "Puff the Magic Dragon" spit fire down on the Viet Cong.

What would you like the readers to know about your military experience? Sometimes it wasn't very pleasant but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I went from a boy to a man in short order. I believe every man should serve his country in order to gain an appreciation for what we have.

Hometown Heroes is a weekly feature profiling Clark and Champaign County veterans compiled with the assistance of local Vietnam veteran Randy Ark. To nominate a veteran, e-mail samantha.sommer@coxinc.com or randyark48@gmail.com or call 937-328-0363. Any veteran of any military branch, years of service and age is eligible to be profiled.

About the Author