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May Retiree's Corner

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

We had one of our ‘smaller’ Luncheon groups for our April Luncheon, about 40 folks to show, I need to beat the drums louder? Our featured speaker was Col. Rita Whitmire and she told us about how she came up through the ranks, later I found out she was a point guard for South Carolina before coming to the SCANG. She was in Maintenance, and according to Charlie Savage she worked for him during Desert Storm. Now she heads up the Mission Support Group. Also, she is a dynamic and busy woman, very involved in the community. 


McEntire History:    We are still honoring our Korean War call-up folks, they are as follows:  These were people assigned to Detachment B, 216th Air Service Group, they are; Privates Leslie A. Blankenship, Lewis F. Branham, Edwin L. Brown, Marion G. Brown, Carl B. Boone Jr., William G. Cushing, Franklin A. Drafts, Charles W. Fetner, Fred H. Gantt, James H. Hagins, Edward D. Harrill, James H. James Jr., Thomas A. Joyner, and Rodney G. Mills. 


This is not McEntire History, but today as I am writing this article, April 18, I feel compelled to mention that today is the 75th Anniversary Commemoration of the Doolittle Raiders flight over Japan, April 18, 1942, and the turnaround affect it had on the war at that time. 80 men in 16 B-25 bombers left the aircraft carrier, USS Hornet, ahead of schedule due to running across a Japanese fishing vessel. It was a wing and prayer mission since the bombers would be running out of fuel to hopefully get them to China. Some of the planes had to glide into the surf off of the coast of China or crash landed on the beach, others made it a couple of hundred miles inland. The Chinese nationals saved and hid many of them to get them back to the States. The Japanese captured some, and executed four of them, including one of our South Carolina natives from Darlington, William Farrow. One plane went to Russia, not sure why, that has always been a mystery to me. There is one lone survivor, Lt. Dick Cole, Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot, he is 101 years of age. He will be the last to toast the Doolittle Raiders, they have an elaborate goblet set and as each one dies each individual goblet is turned upside down. The goblet set is maintained at the Air Force Academy. This will always be a historical aviation event for this nation.


I am not seeing any ‘major’ deployments for the months of May, however, rest assured there were either summer camps or some minor deployments. May of 1979 was the first deployment to the Panama Canal Zone. In 1983, the 240th was the first Combat Communications Squadron to undergo an Operational Readiness Inspection while deployed at Eglin Air Force Base. My first ORI, we did well. We were out there with the Rangers and were visited by General Marchant and Gen. Tom McLean. Also in May of 1983, Stan Hood was the first Air National Guard Commander to get checked out in an F-16.


Our next Luncheon is May 2, please come if you can. It is just before the S.C. National Guard Air & Ground Expo at McEntire, which is scheduled May 6 and 7. However, for us Retirees it is recommended we show up that Friday, May 5, along with some other select folks, same agenda, but less traffic. I’ll try and get more information out prior to the Expo. Our Luncheon, as always, is at the Fort Jackson NCO Club beginning around noon on May 2.