Photo by Frank Prager
After a 25-year active military career, Dave Stout works with the VFW to assist veterans.
ALTON — Many in the United States serve our country through active participation in the military forces. Others do so by supporting our nation’s veterans in their civilian activities. Alton native Dave Stout has a long history of supporting our nation’s heroes in both areas.
Born and raised in Alton, Stout lives with his wife, Mona, in Meadowbrook. He has two daughters and five grandchildren. He graduated from Marquette Catholic High School before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in 1965.
After basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas and radio school at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi, Stout was assigned to a mobile communications unit in Myrtle Beach, S.C. There he was a radio operator, providing radio communications with ground units for military air support.
In 1968, Stout was stationed at Bien Hoa Air Base in Vietnam. During 1968 and 1969, the two highest casualty years of the Vietnam War, Stout coordinated close air support for the Army as an Air Force radio operator.
Returning to the United States and being honorably discharged from the service, he spent a year and half in civilian jobs before re-enlisting in the Air Force. He went on from there to forge a 25-year military career.
Upon going back into the military, Stout crossed over to aircraft maintenance. He became a propulsion technician, specializing in work on engines and propellers. The job took him literally all over the world. He served in Germany, Spain, Italy, Guam, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, Panama, Puerto Rico, Ireland and Egypt.
“It was a busy job,” he says. He served in the 1st Special Operations wing out of Florida and was deployed to “hot spots” where the military had contingency situations or needed to establish a show of force.
Stout retired as a master sergeant in 1989, but not for long.
“I didn’t like retirement,” he says.
He subsequently hired on with Lockheed Martin and worked in aircraft maintenance for them for four years in Saudi Arabia.
Eventually moving back to the Alton area in 1999, he began a legacy of service to the VFW organization that extends to this day. He was post commander in 2005 and 2006 and district commander from 2009 through 2012. He was junior vice commander at the state level last year, is senior vice commander and is working toward being state commander next year.
He travels all over the state working with VFW posts in meetings and representing them with the government.
“It was in my heart to do this,” he says.
Stout is also head of the Alton VFW Honor Guard. The guard’s Ritual Team performs funeral services for veterans throughout the area. Stout says they performed 139 services last year.
“About one every 2.7 days,” he says.
After a lifetime of service and support in and for our country’s military, Stout says he will continue to work to improve conditions for our service personnel and military veterans in every way he can.