A Double Portion

by | Jul 2022

THANKS TO the U.S. Air Force, David Click has visited places around the world that he might never have seen otherwise. His 20-year military career was filled with travel, work, camaraderie, and training. It also enabled Click to experience life in other countries and cultures under different conditions than in America. 

Click joined the United States Air Force in February 1967 from his hometown of Granite City, Illinois. As the end of his initial enlistment neared, he had a decision to make.

“I’d been in for four or five years and was doing pretty good on rank. I was overseas at the time and liked where I was stationed, so I reenlisted the first time and planned to stay a total of 20 years,” Click said. 

Entering military service during the Vietnam War, Click served on two bases in Thailand: one in Ubon, close to the Cambodian border, and the other in Korat. But he was stationed in Spain for the longest time, two tours for a total of about 11 and a half years. It was where he met his first wife and where their two daughters were born. 

Click said, “I loved Spain and toured practically the whole country. Most of the time, the residents treated you just like anyone else, but you were kind of a novelty when you got into the small communities.” 

Although Madrid enjoys over 300 days a year of sunshine, it was not the reason Click chose a military career. 

“When I enlisted, I felt a sense of duty. Nothing we have is free. We have to pay for everything we get, and one way to pay for our freedom is to serve in the military. It’s good for young people to serve because they get a taste of what freedom really is,” he said. 

Click’s time in Cambodia stood in dark contrast to his time in Spain. 

He said, “In Thailand, most of their people didn’t want us there. Certain places weren’t safe. They would rob you or beat you up. I felt sorry for some of the people there because of the way they had to live.” 

The time spent immersed in the everyday life of other countries sharpens the gratitude for freedom. 

“When you’re overseas, you need to get out and look around. You’ll see things that you like and things you don’t like. You see different customs and things that make you appreciate what you have here.” Click continued, “We need to remember where our freedom comes from and support those still serving. Our freedom’s not really free; it has been bought by people serving in the military.” 

Click spent 11 years in Spain, a year in Thailand, a year in Korea, and temporary duties in Turkey, Sardinia, Germany, and Iran. 

The educational opportunities available to the military are another highlight of any military career. Click’s training and schooling equipped him for active duty and civilian life. Click received an associate degree through the Air Force’s community college and on-the-job training as a specialized mechanic. 

Click explained, “For the first 15 years, I was an aerospace ground equipment technician. I worked on all the equipment used to service the aircraft, including the bomb lifts. For the last five and a half years, I was an aircraft accessory systems superintendent.” 

Click is from a family of military servants. The family of five boys and one girl, saw three brothers serving at once during the Vietnam War. Their dedication to our freedom separated them from their families. For seven straight years, Click didn’t see his family in America but recalls with fondness the time he and his brothers surprised their mother by coming home together for Mother’s Day. 

Click’s last duty station was in Blytheville, Arkansas. His older brother was stationed at Seward Air Force Base in Tennessee, and Click visited him from time to time. As retirement approached, the E-8 Senior Master Sergeant’s older brother suggested he retire to Franklin County. Unmarried at the time, Click made the move to Tennessee and began the next stage of the best of his life. 

Click’s younger brother also lived in Tennessee, was married, and introduced his wife’s sister to Click. Soon, the brothers were married to sisters. It’s a marriage still going strong 32 years later. His stepdaughter and her husband are now serving our country and about to be deployed. It reminded Click that a service member’s family serves together.

“Some tours separate you from your family for a year at a time. They’re still having to go on and do everyday things while being left behind. That’s where military family comes into play. They’ll come and help the wives that are left behind, things like that. They take care of each other. Even buddies left behind can be counted on to take care of your family if something really bad happens,” Click said. 

During his years in Franklin County, Click worked for Plymouth Dodge and Chrysler for 26 years as an ASE certified master technician. Advance Auto Parts was his work home for the next six years, where he delivered parts. 

Now fully retired, he realizes the military isn’t for everyone. 

“There’s some good things and some bad things. It’s what we make of it. Our attitude is everything. Like they say, ‘home is where you hang your hat,’” Click said. 

We’re glad he hangs his hat in Franklin County. Thank you, sir, for your service.

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