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July Retiree's Corner

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

We had right at 50 folks join in our June Luncheon. Lt. Col. Mike Dunkin, the 169th Comptroller Flight commander, was our featured speaker. He gave us many details about the Air & Ground Expo, plus upcoming events and happenings at McEntire. I have often said if you come to our Luncheons, the average Luncheon guest knows as much as most people about McEntire, minus the personality challenges. We had an infrequent raffle and the winner was Nelson McLeod. What money we raised went to both the Speakers Fund and the remainder to our Retirees Account that is held at the National Guard Federal Credit Union.

McEntire History: We wrapped up the Korean War call-up folks, now on to bigger and better things, or just a new list. I would like to honor the folks that have passed before us, meaning the names on our Monument. Presently there are 276 names on the Monument, however, through research we have found that another 25 or so known names have not made the Monument for one reason or another. When it comes to identifying folks who pass on, we sometimes need some help or networking. Especially for the folks who live outside of the Columbia Metropolitan area, otherwise we have no idea that someone passes on without the help of family or friends. A prime example is Charles Housand and Allen Pate, luckily someone was in touch with the family to inform us of their passing. The names I am starting off with were the first, initially many were pilots who died in accidents, these folks are listed on the Obelisk, East Side. The names are as follows: Bayard M. Peach (1950-during the Korean War call-up), Robert H. Schorb (1951), Marion G. Brown (1953), Thaddeus J. Blackwood (1955), Jerry C. Branham, Jr. (1955), William C. Broughton, Jr. (1957), William W. Gunter (1960), Raymond B. Hilderbrand, Jr. (1960), Barnie B. McEntire Jr. (1961-the Base’s namesake), James C. Beatty Jr. (1962), Hugh C. McLaurin Jr. (1962-Berlin Call-Up), Donald W. Crout (1964), Eddie L. Floyd Jr. (1966), Clement D. Price (1967), and Dannie D. Attaway (1969).

Major known Deployments in July: Last year for the 2016 Theater Support Package to Korea, TSP- a new acronym, 12 F-16s, and approximately 300 personnel deployed to Osan Air Base, Korea, just south of Seoul. The 240th Combat Communications Squadron became part of the Rapid Deployment Force in 1980. The first airlift deployment was Coronet Power, which was part of NATO’s Display Determination, 34 folks, including yours truly, went to Murted Air Base, Turkey. Our tents were between the runways, and shooting range. Don’t drink the water! I didn’t, many did, even to brush their teeth, guess what happened to them? The other members of the unit that did not deploy, set up relays between both Santee, Poinsett State Parks and McEntire, and did that on a lot of weekend drills. Later in 1980, some 21 Comm folks, along with some Air Traffic Controllers went to Bright Star 81 in Cairo, Egypt in support of Bright Star.

The first Tuesday in July is the 4th, therefore we will do July 11th as our Luncheon Date. We certainly would like to see a great turnout to celebrate the 241st Birthday of our Nation. As always, we will be at the Fort Jackson NCO Club starting around Noon, so beat the heat and come see us.