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Commentary Search

October Retiree's Corner

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

We had Lt. Col. Andrew Thorne as the featured speaker for our September Luncheon, and he gave us a good refresher course, and more, about the Aerospace Control Alert mission, locally and nationally. He also apprised us about the current goings on and what to expect in the near ‘distant’ future of McEntire’s scheduling. He did a fine job, and the neat thing, he got to meet several of our older pilots, Paul Hawkins and Bob Dorn. Later, we had a ticket roll-ending raffle, the reason I say that is we had 118 tickets left in that roll, and my goal was to sell them all so we would have to buy a new roll for future raffles. Actually, we could have sold more if we had them, several people standing in line to buy raffle tickets donated their money, much to the benefit of Steve Corley, our big winner, and the Retirees Group. The last ticket sold was to Bob Dorn’s granddaughter, Anna Leigh Ricketts, who brings him to almost every Luncheon. She won a donated book pertaining to flying. Tom Halcum won the other donated book. A good time was had by all. We had right at 55 folks attend.


McEntire History:  We continue to honor our retirees or active members who have gone on their “final flight”. Their names are memorialized on the monument that the Non Commissioned Officers Academy Graduates started as a worthy project back in the early 80’s, I believe. The honored members follow: Charles V. Maness (1984), Yeadon Dale Dorn Jr. (1984), Audy G. Oswalt (1984), Jimmie L. Childers (1985), Kenneth M. Zinkand (1985), George R. Jernigan Jr. (1985), J. H. McMurray (1986), H. E. Moore (1987), Richard H. Myers (1987), William A. Reis (1987), William H. Threatt (1987), Edward R. Armstrong (1988), H. L. Milne Jr., (1988), B. J. Ellison (1989), H. L. Gillian (1989), R. W. Moran (1990), and T. L. Finch (1990). 


Some of these folks I remember really well. Dale Dorn went down tragically off of Trotter Road and very close to the old Hickory Ridge Golf Course. I was right down the road coaching Dixie Baseball, when Donnie Krofchick and I saw smoke and fire trucks hustling to get to the wreck area. Audy Oswalt was killed coming home from Summer Camp with the 226th Combat Communications Group down in Gulfport, Mississippi. Oddly enough he and I won the horse-shoe pitching contest the day before coming home. He and Guy Corbett stopped to help out a stranded motorist on I-20 in Georgia, when he was struck by a car. Dick Myers had a motorcycle accident while attending the NCO Academy Class at the Air Guard training base in Tennessee. Ken Zinkand died of a heart attack while swimming, the others I’m not sure about. The names are on the North Side of the obelisk, lower portion. 


October Deployments:  For some reason we had two of our largest deployments during the month of October. Officially October 10, 1950, after the outbreak of war in Korea, the entire SCANG was called to active duty for 21 months. The group was divided up into four units, the 157th Fighter Squadron, the 157th Utility Flight, the 157th Weather Station Flight, and Detachment B, 216th Air Service Group, the numerically largest unit, member wise. All SCANG members were assigned to the 14th Air Force at Lawson Field in Fort Benning, Georgia.


September 1, 1961, the Pentagon made an announcement that 64 Air National Guard and 7 Air Reserve units were going to be called up. On October 9, 1961, 747 men were called for duty. As always there was confusion where the unit was going, finally the majority ended up at Moron Air Base in Spain. Some ended up at different bases in France, and a few in Germany. Some were sent to active duty bases in the States in back filled positions. Most folks started returning home in July and August 1962 from the Berlin Crisis Call-Up. 


We have also been following the 240th Combat Communications Squadron and some of their deployments. The year was 1983, we were ordered to do an Operational Readiness Inspection at Eglin Air Force Base, Camp Rudder, Field 6, and we were right next to the Ranger training camp (swamp). We achieved an overall Excellent on this ORI. After the ORI was over some of us frequented the Ranger’s canteen and swapped stories with them. We convoyed all our equipment down, the ones that didn’t convey flew down, and then conveyed back, long haul. Brad Fowler and I drove the lead communication jeep back to McEntire. Remember stopping in Tuskegee, AL at a Holiday Inn that night, and they had the best crab legs. Then we trekked back to McEntire the next day.  We all were very proud of our performance.


Let’s do our next Luncheon October 3rd. I am probably barking at the moon, but I would like to see an increase of 5% from our September Luncheon. That should not be too much to ask, and that would give us around 60 people. Just get some bounce in your step and come see us and some of your old buddies and cohorts. As always, we will be at the Fort Jackson NCO Club and will kick off around noon. In the meantime, please take care of yourselves.