MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
We honored our new 169th Fighter Wing commander, Col. Akshai Gandhi, who is no newcomer to us Retirees. This was his fifth visit to see us. He provided us with a lot of information and answered some questions from the smaller July Luncheon crowd. We only had 47 folks to show for the Luncheon, which sort of disappointed me. Anyway, we keep trying to beat the bushes for our Luncheon attendees. We also had the wing command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Stephen Shepherd, to grace our presence, it is always good to have them in tandem visiting with us.
McEntire History: If you recall, there was no July SCANG News, which threw me out of my rhythm a bit, messing with old people’s routines? This month we are honoring the 15 folks who are etched in the fourth column on the large granite block inside of the monument. There are a total of 75 names on this portion of the large granite block. They are as follows:
1. George M. Martin, Jr. He retired in 1999. He was a Desert Strom veteran, attached to the 169th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and based on his picture in the 40th Anniversary Book (1986), he was pictured with Aerospace Support Equipment crew. He appeared to be a rather tall fellow. He passed away in 2008.
2. Samuel J. Workman, III. Sam was one of our pilots. From the information I have, he flew the F-80, F86s, F-104 and the F-102. He retired in 1979 and died September 23, 2008. He would come to our Breakfasts, a regular attendee, and from my observation he was a quiet and respectful man. He is pictured in the 25th Anniversary Book (1971) on pages 24, 42, 47, 53, and 67.
3. John E. Jackson. One of my 240th buddies. He was in the Supply Section as a full-timer. He retired in 2004 and died in 2008, if I recall he had some medical issues. I would routinely go over to the Falcon’s Nest after drill and John would usually be there. His picture is at the bottom of page 141 of the 40th Anniversary Book.
4. Hubert H. Paul, Jr. One of our 1995 Retirees. Another one of my Falcon’s Nest buddies. I always remembered him being in the Communications Flight. He was a Berlin Crisis Call-Up guy and he was assigned to Headquarters 169th Fighter Group as an A1/C. His picture is on page 133 in the 40th Anniversary Book. I could not find him in the 25th Anniversary Book, might have overlooked him? Hubert died January 14, 2009.
5. Dothan E. Jeffers, Jr. He retired in 1987 and passed away in 2009. His picture is at the bottom of page 103 in the 40th Anniversary Book. His picture is on page 81, top picture in the 25th Anniversary Book. Based on information from the Jeffers-McGill Furniture Store, he went in business with Mr. McGill for a while and he went back to McEntire to work and finish out his retirement. The store never changed the name. Dothan was a Berlin Call-Up guy, he was a Master Sgt. attached to the Headquarters 169th Fighter Group.
6. Dale E. Wallace, should be Dale H. Wallace? A 1996 Retiree as a Chief. He was also a Desert Storm veteran attached to 169th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron as a Senior Master Sgt. He is pictured in the top picture on page 105, AIS Test Station, PMEL in the 40th Anniversary Book. He is also in the 25th Anniversary Book, top picture on page 80, Camron Radar. He died in 2009.
7. Barry Ward. Everyone knew him as Barry. His actual name was Wallace B. Ward. No one hardly knew him as that. Barry was my neighbor for a while in Hunting Creek Farms at Horrell Hill. I’ll never forget coming home one day during a storm, his house was on fire from a lightning strike. He had that house built from scratch. Later he moved to Spartanburg, I believe, and he died there in 2009. He was a veteran of Desert Storm assigned as a Tech. Sgt. in the 169th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. His picture is at the bottom of page 108, 169th Camron Flight.
8. James C. Hatchell, Sr. The Chief! He wore the Ruptured Duck lapel pin, meaning you were a WWII Veteran. He was assigned to Occupied Japan in the Army. He got out of the military and later joined the Army Guard, didn’t stay long, then joined the Air Guard subsequently. He was a Korean War Call-Up guy, assigned as a Corporal with the 157th Fighter Squadron. He was a Berlin Call-Up guy assigned as a Master Sgt. with the 169th Material Squadron. He later became a Senior Enlisted Advisor, not sure if he was the 1st? The Chief knew more about Congaree/McEntire and its personnel back then. He was a great guy who loved to golf after he retired. He was involved with the Eastern ANG Invitational Open. He also started Monday Night Drill Nights at McEntire at least quarterly, as a Retiree, sometimes having a speaker and a cook out. He ultimately got me into this business, telling me to ‘take over’. What did he do to me? Everyone loved the Chief. He passed away July 19, 2009. His pictures are on pages 25, 50, 54, 66, 67, 96 and 142 in the 40th Anniversary Book, maybe more. Also, in the 25th Anniversary Book his pictures are on pages 26 and 72.
9. John D. Mattox. A 1999 Retiree who died in 2009. John was a Desert Storm veteran assigned to the 169th Resource Management Squadron as a Master Sgt. There is a picture of him in the History of Operation Desert Shield/Storm Book stating he helped manage the traffic flow of cargo. Also, he is on page 124 in the 40th Anniversary Book, bottom picture. I remember him at times as the SATO man, he would set up travel plans if you needed to go somewhere. Overall, good guy.
10. William H. Huffstetler. One of our 1984 Retirees who died September 2, 2009. Both he and his brother Richard retired in 1984. Bill retired as a Chief. He was both a Korean War Call-Up assigned to the 157th Fighter Squadron as a Sergeant and as a Master Sgt. during the Berlin Call-Up assigned to Headquarters 169th Fighter Group. His pictures are on pages 49, 88, and 146 in the 40th Anniversary Book and page 76 in the 25th Anniversary Book.
11. Robert E. Berry. He was a 1992 Retiree and he died October 11, 2009. He was another Desert Storm veteran, assigned as a Senior Master Sgt., 169th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. His picture is on page 110, top portion, 169th Maintenance Control. He was a Berlin Call-Up guy assigned to 169th CAMS as an A2/C.
12. Roy D. Wiedemann. He retired in 1987 as a Chief. He enlisted in the Air Guard in 1948, later to become the Weapons Control Systems Superintendent. He was a Korean War Call-Up attached to 216th Det. B, Air Service Group. Also, a Berlin Call-Up guy who was attached to 169th CAMS as a Master Sgt. at that time. His picture is in the 40th Anniversary Book on pages 88 and 103, bottom picture.
13. Grady L. Patterson, Jr. I don’t know where to begin with him. He retired in 1984 as a Lt. General. He joined the Air Guard after his WWII service. He joined the Army in 1942, later joining the Army Air Corps and getting his commission and wings in 1944. He flew the P-51 in the Asia Pacific theater and logged 66 hours in 11 missions during WWII. I believe he told me and others the story that he heard the engines of P-51s flying around Columbia, checked into it and joined SCANG. He was a Korean War Call-Up pilot assigned to the 157th Fighter Squadron as a 1st Lt. Later he was a Berlin Call-Up pilot as Major assigned to the 157th Fighter Squadron. Later, he held several staff positions before being selected as the Assistant Adjutant General for Air in 1971. Lest we not forget he was the state of South Carolina’s Treasurer for years. After he retired, he used to come out to the golf course at Ft. Jackson to play a round of golf. He did not have a group, he would just join up with different people, including me. He always walked the course. His picture is in the 25th Anniversary Book on pages 23, 28, 66, and 67. In the 40th Anniversary Book, he is in pages 17, 24, 25, and 55.
14. Paul V. Bell. One of my 240th buddies. I went on many deployments and summer camps with him. One word sums up Paul Bell, a ‘character”. He came to McEntire when Donalson Air Force Base was closed. He lived in Woodruff. After his retirement, he served on the city council and later was the Mayor of Woodruff. He kept the same old Toyota car chassis, but had to replace many engines and transmissions in it, up to around 700,000 miles. He was the radio maintenance supervisor, and I tell you what, when you saw Paul Bell, and you had a problem, it would be fixed ASAP. He was a Desert Storm veteran and he had a play dog outside his tent, right down from mine. Paul was a strong man, he impressed the Turks with his strength. He would take a 16 pound sledge hammer, hold it on the bottom of the handle and gently touch the head to his nose, then handed to one of the Turks and challenge them. I could ‘almost’ do it with some practice. There are so many other stories about him, another time.
15. Johnny Brown. Another 1996 Retiree who died December 17, 2009. Another Desert Storm veteran. Motor pool man. If you needed a vehicle, you mostly encountered Johnny Brown. He would fix you up. His picture is on page 122, top picture.
After doing the research on these fine folks who passed in 2009, my observation we sure had some prominent SCANG folks to leave us that particular year.
The next Luncheon is August 7th at our usual spot, the Ft. Jackson NCO Club, beginning at noon. Come see us if you would.