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February Retiree's Corner

  • Published
  • By Robert Barkalow Jr.
  • Master Sgt. (Retired)

At our January Luncheon we had around 60 folks attend the Luncheon/Memorial Service. It was a very good Luncheon, plus we had two ‘featured speakers’, Lt. Col. Chris Gamble and CMSgt Dan Shelley.  Both have spoken to us before, it was great having a one-two team punch. Lt. Col. Gamble more or less talked about the activities at McEntire, present and future, and Chief Shelley discussed the South Korea deployment. Steve Corley assisted me with the memorial service and Nelson McLeod did his monthly routine photo duties. A good time was had by all. We had folks who routinely come from the Florence area, the Webbs. We have some folks who came from the Rock Hill area. This time one of my old 240th buddies, Tim Egan, who sat with the guys who have been coming from Rock Hill routinely, Bob King and his buddy. We have the Corley’s coming from Aiken. We also had the Collins from Lancaster. Now I am scratching my head, why can’t we get people from five-ten miles down the road to come see us?  There is no logical answer, so I will just use the old cliché, ‘it is what it is’!  Just keep trying to come see us.


McEntire History:  We are still honoring the Korean War call-up folks. This month we have members assigned to Detachment B, 216th Air Service Group. They are as follows:  Corporals Homer E. Rose, John D. Ruff, Nathaniel Russ, Charles R. Russell, James R. Sanders, William D. Shirley, Calvin B. Smith, Jimmie S. Storey, Jessie T. Taylor, Kenneth L. Taylor, William M. Thomasson, Hugh L. Turner (Square), Roddey G. Turner, Oswan V. Welch, and Hubert C. Young, Jr.


Noted February Deployments:  In 1997, Operation Southern Watch, Qatar, keeping Saddam Hussein aircraft from venturing below the 33rd parallel. An amazing feat, the flying package took 12 planes, fourteen refuels enroot, and once landing, had them ready for combat in one hour. The 169th had a 96.9% mission capable rate during this deployment, much to the amazement of the other units.

Another Qatar deployment, this time 2002, Operation Enduring Freedom, better known as Afghanistan.  This time it was a six-ship package with about 200 folks going on this deployment, the pilots had a grueling experience having to fly 8-10 round trip missions from Qatar to Afghanistan because of not being able to fly over certain countries. 


I am taking the liberty to mention some of the 240th deployments and exercises during its hay-day time frame for about the next year. The year 1975 found the 240th ATCF headed to Phelps-Collins Air National Guard Training Base, Alpena, MI, one of their favorite spots, and the 240 Mobile Communications Flight conveying to Hurlburt and Duke Fields at Eglin AFB. I am sure a Square Turner convoy.


OK, let’s put February 7th on our calendar for a rousing pre-Valentine Luncheon. Bring your sweetie this month, and avoid the Valentine madness. I can’t think of a cheaper and less stressful celebratory meal.  Anyway we will be at the Fort Jackson NCO Club February 7th, beginning at 1200 or high noon. If anyone would like to get in touch with me, my home phone # is 803 936-0680 or email address of