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January Retiree's Corner

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. (retired) Robert Barkalow Jr.
  • 169th Fighter Wing

We had our largest crowd of 2018, around 70 folks attend the December Luncheon. The room looked crowded to me. Our featured speaker was Col. Scott Bridgers, the 169th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. He hadn’t been around to see us since 2014 and he had to be at Shaw to check out two different people on the flight simulator. He said he needed to leave by 1300. I kept showing him the time and he just kept talking, he was hitting his afterburner by then. By the way, he has over 4800 hours in the F-16. Anyway, we finally got him out of there and on his way to Shaw. Unfortunately, we will be losing him to fly with UPS. Reporting to Buck Shuler?

McEntire History: We have been reporting some information about the folks who are on our Monument. There are 26 names left to mention. What I will do is divide them into two months of reporting, 13 each month, since I am presenting more information on them for the most part. Since these folks were of my era, I either knew them or knew of them for the most part. I strictly give out information as to how I saw them or how I encountered with them. Others may have another take on them. But at least there is some information about the remaining folks on our Monument. For the month of January 2019, the folks are as follows:

1. Edwin D. Fleming, “Ed”. One of my Radio Ops buddies, sort of lost track of him later. He lived at Oak Island, North Carolina. He formerly lived in Florence and before that Knoxville, Tennessee. His wife’s name was Janice. They would come to Columbia to stay with us for the weekend and go to the USC football games, particularly when playing Tennessee. He was an easy going guy, quite the smoker, loved old Cadillacs, and big old vans. He had a heart of gold. Originally, he was a radio operator attached to the 240th Air Traffic Control Flight, who went to Alpena many times. He would be the fisherman for the fish fries while up there. He loved to dance and party. Later, when the two flights combined into the 240th Combat Comm. Squadron, he and two other radio operators integrated into our Radio Ops Section. Ed was one of our missing link individuals, I have estimated he retired in 1993 as a technical sergeant. He died March 29, 2014. Ed is pictured in the 40th Anniversary Book, Page 138, bottom picture.

2.    Rhudolph Wayne Whisnant, “Wayne”. He retired as a master sergeant in 1996 and he passed away October 25, 2014. I and many people went to his funeral. It was at the Andrew Chapel UMC in Swansea. However, the church was in the Sandy Run area, out in God’s country. I am glad I went because I was able to understand Wayne better. He was a perfectionist, didn’t understand it when he was living, he would call me up and sort of fuss at me for not doing this or that in his own way. He wasn’t ugly about it but it left me feeling bothered at times. Wayne was one of those who was all over the base in different jobs and positions. He was a Berlin Call-Up assigned to the 169th CAMS as an A2/C. Then, he was with the 169th Supply, Equipment Management. Wayne is pictured on Page 89, top picture in the 25th Anniversary Book. In the 40th Anniversary Book, Wayne is pictured on Page 110, top picture, 169th CAMRON Maintenance Control. Later, when he retired I believe he was in the Civil Engineer Squadron. Wayne was a devout man of God. There were stories that he built some things for the church and if it not quite right, he would tear it down and start all over again, it was funny to the Congregation. That was the type of guy he was, a perfectionist.   

3.    Herbert Clark Jr., he died November 10, 2014. He was 69 years old at the time of his death. Herbert retired as a master sergeant in 1998 as a traditional Guardsman. Herbert was a technical sergeant and one of the chefs that went to Desert Storm. All I can tell you when the 169th Services Flight left, the food at Al Kharj went down. Fortunately, there were not as many people around at that base. Herbert is pictured on Page 120, upper picture. Herbert was from Scranton, South Carolina, however, in civilian life, he was a band director serving various schools in the Pee Dee area. He was also a quiet and devout man. His obituary identified him as Deacon Herbert Clark.

4.    Jerry S. Steele Sr. Jerry retired in 1997 as a master sergeant. He is pictured on Page 107, top picture, at that time assigned to the 169th CAMRON Aerospace Support Equipment. I didn’t know Jerry, however, his obituary states he was a local fellow, growing up and living in the Lexington/Batesburg-Leesville area. He passed away at 71 years old December 13, 2014. He was a long time Leesville Water Commissioner and was a Mason, Shriner and a member of the Scottish Rite. He was also a Master Electrician and owner/operator of Steele Electric. He retired in 2006 as the Director of Maintenance for Lexington County School District 3. Busy man, he was married for 50 years.

5.    Bernard A. Daetwyler, “Daet” to his friends. He passed away on January 4, 2015. He fought a valiant battle before passing. There is a lot to say about him and his life! Bernie is what I called him, retired in 1972 as a lieutenant colonel. He was a WWII Veteran, but first of all his family came from Switzerland and they migrated to the hills of West Virginia, where he was born. He attended Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia and later graduated from USC in 1950. Bernie was an Army Air Cadet in South Carolina. Then, he was assigned as a P-47 pilot and ending up being stationed on Iwo Jima. At one of our quarterly meetings back in the late 90s, I had both he and Ack Ack (Jimmie Wright) come to talk to us. One was the Pacific Theatre (Bernie) and one was the European Theatre (Jimmie). Bernie told us the runway on Iwo Jima had a huge dip or hump in it. I am not sure if his unit converted to the P-51s while there. He joined the SCANG in 1949 as a USC student (sorry not supposed to say or write that anymore). He was a Korean War Call-Up guy as a first lieutenant attached to the 157th Fighter Squadron. He and other pilots ended up in Germany later during the Korean Call-Up. During the Berlin Call-Up he was a major, not sure if he was the squadron commander at that time with the 157th Fighter Squadron. I know he led the Advance Detachment during this call-up. I have him flying the P-51, F-80, F-86s. F-104, and the F-102 during his career. Bernie had a wonderful and fulfilling civilian life, mostly with different positions at USC. I believe he was the Comptroller and later the Provost. In addition, he had an instrumental role with his church, Shandon Presbyterian Church. He was active in the community, serving in many capacities with many different Boards and Foundations. Ultimately, he ended up receiving The Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian award with the state, quite the honor! Later in life, Bernie moved to the Presbyterian Home up by I-20 and Sunset Blvd. For some reason, he and I would see each other frequently at the convenience store down below Lexington Hospital getting gas for our cars. That’s when I got to know him and we would talk for a while, very personable guy. I went to his visitation, his son, Mike, was in the 240th for a while before leaving town. He stayed in the Air Force Reserves, through his different moves ended up in Colorado. Bernie is pictured in the 25 Anniversary Book on Page 67, Headquarters SCANG. There are various pictures of Bernie in the 25th Anniversary Book as well as the 40th Anniversary Book. He was The Man!

6.    Ralph E. Bradford Jr., 84 at the time of his death January 26, 2015. One of my old golf buddies. Ralph was a very good golfer, I couldn’t beat him no matter how hard I tried. After Desert Storm in 1991, some of us took a golf trip to the Western ANG Open in Tucson, Arizona in our C-130. We also stopped by and picked up some folks from the Georgia ANG to legitimize it. Three of us rented a car, Ralph, Bill Page and myself, I being the junior man, became the designated driver while Ralph would sit in the shotgun seat and sip his beer. We had a great time, played courses all over the Tucson area. One course we played was down by Mexico. After the round, we went across the border into Mexico. We stopped into this huge flea market to check the wares out and later stopped in a cantina and ordered us a cool one. We didn’t stay long, the locals did not like our presence there. Back to Ralph, he was another figurehead in SCANG history. After graduating from Dreher High School and attending The Citadel, where he ran track and was on the boxing team, he then transferred to Carolina to enroll in the Air Force ROTC program. He earned his wings in 1954, went active duty and was stationed in Germany, got out, and came back to Columbia joining the SCANG in 1957 where he served until his retirement in 1984. I have him flying the F-86, F-104, F-102, and A-7D. He held many positions from a fighter pilot, squadron commander, executive support officer, and finally chief of staff, retiring as a brigadier general. He was a Berlin Call-Up guy as a captain assigned to the 157th Fighter Squadron. Ralph told me one time he loved speed, he would drive his dad’s car while in high school down Percival Road to Camden at breakneck speed. He had an insurance agency for years sort of across from the VA Hospital. After retiring, I would see Ralph at the Fort Jackson Golf Club and play with him at times. Later when he was unable to play, he would come out to have lunch and chit-chat. His wife predeceased his death. I went to Ralph’s visitation at his daughter’s home in Kings Grant, along with many others. Ralph was a great guy, a good golfer and athlete in his day, a superb pilot, a gentleman, and to me he was just a ‘cool’ guy. He didn’t get excited about anything. Ralph is pictured in the 25th Anniversary Book, Page 70, as the 157th Operations Officer.

7.    John Howard Sr., a 1996 retiree as a master sergeant. He passed away January 27, 2015. John was a traditional Guardsman, he is pictured on Page 123, bottom picture along with others in the 169th Resources Management Squadron. I can’t say I knew John. I do recognize him and his picture, plus I would see him around the base since he and I retired about the same time. From his obituary, John lived in Sumter County all his life. Not sure if he had active duty time or not or just did his time as a traditional Guardsman.

8.    Jonathan L. Laymon, 26, an Active Associate member. He was a senior airman attached to the Weapons Loading Section. According to his obituary, Jonathan had quite the track record as a weapons loader. He was in the Air Force for 7 years and three deployment tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Jordan before coming to McEntire. Since the funeral services were local, at Greenlawn and Thompson funeral home, I usually try to attend these services if I have no other conflict.    

9.    Winfred Williams (Midget), he was 62 when he passed away May 7, 2015. I can tell you a lot about Midget, he was small in stature but had a big heart. When you serve with someone almost every watch during Desert Storm you find out what that person is like and what makes them tick. Midget was from Tennessee, he told me he joined the Army Guard while in Tennessee. It wasn’t his cup of tea and later he joined the Air Force. He was put in Communications, this is how he was found by McEntire. He was at Shaw and was sort of a liaison with the 240th Combat Communications Squadron. Col. Teer talked him into transferring to the SCANG and the 240th although he had an unusual problem. He could not stand cold on his hands, which was strange for an Old Milwaukee Beer Aficionado. He had to use a koozie to drink his beer. But finally, he was allowed to come to the 240th notwithstanding the Guard Bureau’s regulations as an AGR. This guy knew more about communications and all the ins and outs about it. Normally I would work Communications Focal Point and Midget would work Job Control. Many times Midget and I would work the night shift and when the war was over, we would go get a bite to eat and head to the made-up golf course that the 169th Air Force Advisor set up initially. I have a lot of pictures to prove our presence on the Al Kharj Golf Course. Anyway, Midget finally retired in 2001 and he went to work for a communications company as a consultant. I lost track of Midget after he retired and understand he changed his lifestyle and accepted God. I went to his funeral and learned all this by talking with his wife Debra. He would write songs and poetry. I loved this guy and learned a lot from him. Both he and the next guy I am writing about Terry Wingard died days apart at MUSC. I am usually not an emotional guy, but I mourned for the both of them for a while, it had an effect on me, based on the relationship I had with them.   

10.    Terry D. Wingard, my buddy, and everyone’s buddy! Terry passed away May 10, 2015, at MUSC. He had a hard time while there, one thing after another, very hard on the family. I lost two close friends at MUSC right together, I would be hard pressed ever to go to MUSC, just a psychological thing with me. Terry retired in 2009 when he was the 4th 169th Fighter Wing command chief. He was one of the most caring, compassionate persons I ever met in my lifetime. He was always positive and would project himself that way. I am sure he was a great advisor to the wing commanders during his tenure as the command chief. Terry helped me considerably with the Retirees. He would call me all the time, if not weekly, about somebody and that I should get the word out about so and so being sick, dying, etc. I think this is one reason I evolved into doing what I do with the Air Guard Retirees, all because of his influence and compassion. There were times I thought I was with Jesus when around Terry and I am being serious about that. Many folks attended his funeral at the Pilgrim Lutheran Church on SC Highway #6, close to the Lake Murray Dam. Terry grew up in that area, as well as his forebears. Many of his ancestors were originally buried under Lake Murray and had to be moved when building the dam back in the 1920s. I have since gone back to visit his gravesite periodically but I cannot find it behind the Church. There are several Wingard gravesite areas within the cemetery but I have not seen Terry’s per se. Several times I called Terry’s wife, Hope, after he died and while talking with her, she would break down and start crying, so I stopped calling. Just didn’t mean to upset Hope anymore, she was still grieving. Jean and I went to visit Hope and the family after the funeral and Terry always had a ‘work in progress’ on the old family homestead in Lexington. Terry’s son took me out back to the sheds and garages and showed me a yellow VW Thing that Terry would work on periodically, plus all his tools, tractors and lawnmowers. Terry’s son worked for the DMV and he designed the license tag “In God We Trust” his last day of work for the DMV. It’s still around. I asked the children, all grown, if their dad ever got upset with them. The answer was yes, but not often. I did run across a picture that demonstrated that, a rare moment. He and Hope were named the SCANG family of the year in 1999. Terry was a Desert Storm Veteran, he was a master sergeant assigned to 169th CAMS, crew chief and flight line duty. He also did the two Qatar trips plus Northern Watch. Terry is pictured in the 25th Anniversary Book, Page 76, top picture. I could not find him in the 40th Anniversary Book. In addition, Terry was the National Vice President for the NCO Academy Graduate Association. He was continually involved with Family Readiness, a lifetime member of the ANG CCM Alumni Association and EANGUS. Just a prince of a fellow, I still miss him.

11.    Tiffany Dawn Kawena Glossmeyer Mellott, she was 37 when she died. She was an active member when passing away July 21, 2015. I did not know Tiffany, but I had a proud moment when I mentioned her full name during one of our Luncheons and our featured speaker, Dolph, was impressed that I remembered her full name. All I can tell you about her, she had six years of active duty with the Air Force, two years with the Air Force Reserve, and eight years with the SCANG. Tiffany evidently had some Hawaiian background otherwise she would not have the name Kawena. When she died she lived in Sumter and her husband was Shannon P. Mellott. She had three children and she had Hawaiian grandparents named Tutu and Tutuman Kawena. 

12.    Charles Jarret Hammet, “Jerry”, died August 1, 2015, peacefully at his retirement home on Fripp Island. He was a 1982 retiree and he retired as a full-bird colonel. When I joined the SCANG he was the head chaplain and he was a renown SCANG member, well thought of and he ministered his flock very well. But then he had more of a background than just the Air Guard. He was born in Williamsburg County, graduated from Kingstree High, then Clemson University, later receiving the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award from the Columbia Theological Seminary in 1957. In 1978 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Presbyterian College. He started out as a Preacher in Greenwood, South Carolina in 1957, followed by a short stint as an active duty chaplain with the U. S. Army Signal Battalion at Fort Stewart during the Berlin Crisis. After that, he served at USC as the Presbyterian Campus Chaplain during the time of social change and racial strife. While doing all that he was serving in the SCANG as our head Chaplain. After his retirement in 1982, he went and pastored at the Bethesda Presbyterian Church in Camden and stayed until he fully retired in 1996, later moving to Fripp Island. Jerry was laid to rest back in Williamsburg County, Kingstree, based on what Chaplain Bolhman and others told me attending his funeral at that time. Jerry is pictured in the 25th Anniversary Book on Page 84, top picture, Admin, Ops., Chaplain and Legal.

13.    Melburn L. Oswald, he passed away August 4, 2015. He served 38 years with the SCANG as a crew chief and fulltime Technician, retiring as a senior master sergeant. I didn’t know or remember him, just didn’t flow into his circle. He was a Lexington County man, lived and died there. Melburn, or in some cases “Chuck”, although some people have refuted that. He is pictured on Page 75 in the 25th Anniversary Book, bottom picture, 169th CAMRON Engine Shop. In the 40th Anniversary Book, he is listed as Melburn “Chuck” Oswald, on Page 108, bottom picture. His obituary made no mention to his nickname, Chuck? Nevertheless, he evidently was one of the ‘salt of the earth’ flight line guys, who came to work every day and did his job. He was a Berlin Call-Up guy as a staff sergeant assigned to 169th CAMS. 

Our next Luncheon will be Jan. 8, 2019. This will be our annual Memorial Ceremony for the people that passed away the previous year, plus we will have the Missing Man presentation as well, as we have for the past 10-15 years. We will have this at the Fort Jackson NCO Club beginning at noon. Please come and attend this luncheon and ceremony if you can.