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Commentary Search

March Retiree's Corner

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

Our February Luncheon mustered about 50 people in the NCO Club’s gigantic ballroom. Our featured McEntire speaker was unable to show up due to a conflict. However, we had many ‘featured speakers’. First we polled most of the couples to see how long they have been married, a Valentine special, we were surprised how many were over 50 years, even heard some 60+ years! Then we told good ole McEntire stories that many retirees have stored up, some were funny, some were interesting, and many made you proud to be a Swamp Fox. To me, and many others it was fun, and something different.  Many folks show up to tell their stories anyway before or after the Luncheon. Our Luncheons are simply a small reunion. I love it when someone tells their buddy, “hey you remember the time”, etc. The response is either yes I do, no I don’t, or I am not remembering that? There may be some aging process in the latter?  So if we never have a speaker, we will always come up with something that will hopefully entertain everyone. 

McEntire HIstory:  We are still honoring the Korean War Call-Up folks. These honored this month were assigned to Detachment B, 216th Air Service Group, they are Private First Class (PFCs) Charles R. Almond, Richard W. Amick, George R. Ballentine, Harold C. Ballentine, Tommy F. Brant, Lindis R. Burnett, Thomas C. Camak, Earle G. Cooper, Dillard E. Driggers, William J. Duffy, John W. Duttenhofer, Henry W. Eddy Jr., Cary W. Grubbs, Furman R. Hicks, Harry U. Hollis, Edward G. Johnson, and George L. Kanellos. I am not recognizing any names this time, perhaps some of the old timers, maybe? 
Noted March Deployments:  Qatar, Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), 2003: this was about a 400-deployed person package as part of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing. The 15-ship deployment flew over 500 sorties, comprising of over 2,000 hours of air support delivering more than 65 HARM’s and 370,000 pounds of bombs. This was the beginning of the invasion of Iraq. While researching this, I found there were many other units from McEntire deployed that I would like to mention. The Security Forces had been in Turkey and some other Southwest Asia locations for five months, the 169th Services Flight was in UAE about this time, and the 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron returned home from Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, I remember going out to greet them returning.  Plus the 245th was supplying air controllers all over SWA during OIF. The bottom line- we had people from all units at McEntire supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom including some 169th Civil Engineer Squadron folks. 

In 1976, the 240th folks divided up. The Air Traffic Control Squadron went to their beloved Phelps-Collins Training Center at Alpena, Michigan, and the Combat Communications guys went to Myrtle Beach Air Force Base to practice setting up communication for a bare base situation, actually they were deployed to the Air Base’s land fill. I have always said the 240th was blessed to be deployed to the garden spots of the world?

Our next Luncheon will be March 7 at our usual place at the Fort Jackson NCO Club beginning at noon. I have already started adverting the upcoming Air Show/Expo in May of this year. Mark your calendar for both events, the Luncheon and the Expo.

By Robert (Bob) W. Barkalow, Jr., MSgt Retired)