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June Retiree's Corner

  • Published
  • By Bob Barkalow
  • Master Sgt. (retired)

We had about 50-55 folks come see their Air Guard buddies and listen to Colonel Keith “Dolph” Miller, the 169th Operations Group commander, during the May Luncheon. Dolph did a fantastic job briefing us about the base and the S.C. Guard Expo, which subsequently was a great affair. Our Luncheon was May 2, and the Guard Expo was May 5-7. I saw a good many of our folks at the Air and Guard Expo on Friday, May 5. I happened to stumble onto the Silver Foxes, our former pilots, which gave me the opportunity to view the Combined Arms Demonstration from a front row position, quite an exhilarating experience. The fellow that was doing the announcing, who was right next door in a tower van, stated that as many air shows he worked and viewed, this was by far the best he had ever witnessed. I would say the community got a good impression about their Army and Air Guard.

McEntire History: We are still honoring the last of the Korean War Call-Up folks. This will put a wrap on the 321 members that were called up October 10, 1950. Later the majority of them were returned to State Control July 10, 1952. However, many who went overseas, pilots and some support personnel, were held over because they had to sign the “Indefinite Career Reserve Agreement”. It took until March 1953 before they could come back to Congaree Air Base as Guardsmen. It took hiring a Washington D.C. law firm to assist with them returning. The last of Detachment B, 216th Air Service Group were Private (PVT.) Ruthven P. Nelson, Arthur R. Plowden, Wylie M. Ratteree Jr., Ralph F. Reeves, Thomas D. Roof, Bryan O. Sullivan, James H. Summer, and George E. Wagstaff Jr. Also, there were five members attached to the 157th Weather Station (Type A), they were 2nd Lt. Sanford O. Swanson Jr., Sgt. English G. Hammond Jr., Private 1st Classes Robert E. Hammond, John B. Humphries, and James R. Wilson. Later the Weather Flight had to be shut down due to not being able to secure a qualified weather officer in 1958. I have in mind another “Honor List” beginning in July.


Known June Deployments:  Operation Iraqi Freedom, Balad, Iraq. About 300 folks deploying for 120 days as part of the Air Expeditionary Force, which was a rotational exercise for Active, Guard and Reserve Forces. As part of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, McEntire flew over 800 combat air patrol missions, which included the last days of OIF.

The 240th deployments in 1979 consisted of the Air Traffic Control Flight going back to Alpena, Michigan to the Phelps-Collins Combat Training Base, and the 240th Combat Communications Squadron went back to Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, and Huntington State Park for radio and relay. Now that was a great summer camp, we had several communication vans right on the sand dunes at the state park, just like a summer vacation, very scenic.

Our next Luncheon will be June 6 at the Fort Jackson Noncommissioned Officers Club. We start up around Noon, so work on your old Air Guard buddies to attend, also bring wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, Mothers, Fathers, cousins, no pets or terrorists please.