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Commentary Search

October Retiree's Corner

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

As promised this is the final column commemorating the Berlin Crisis Call-Up from October 1961 to July 1962 when the approximately 738 folks came home. We are down to the last 50 call-ups. They were assigned to the 169th Material Squadron. Based on my research none of these folks chose to stay beyond their enlistment, so there were no Retirees from this group, unless I overlooked someone, which is always a possibility. They are as follows:

Airman 2nd Class: Joseph E. Rankin, Hazel L. Reynolds, Robert E. Reynolds, Jr., Charles C. Robinson, Randolph G. Roddy, Robert A. Saunders, Jr., James M. Scott, William N. Sharpe, James R. Shealy (Died 11/29/2018), Joseph L. Shealy, Gary R. Smith, Thomas D. Smith, Jr., Willie E. Snipes, III, William P. Spivey, Milton S. Taylor, Jr., John C. Temples, Ronald E. Turner, Glenn L. Whitlock, and James W. Williamson, III.

Airman 3rd Class: Alberto G. Alvarez, William G. Anderson, Jr., Samuel W. Breeland, Jr., Harold O. Brown (used to live down the street from Harold, also Jimmy Ewing’s brother in law), Kenneth R. Brown, Bosher D. Brown, Henry G. Chandler, Jr., Thomas W. Deloach, Kenneth R. Farmer, Jimmie W. Hallman, Jr., James T. Harvey, William C. Holler, Robert D. Hyler, William A. Jerry, Charles C. Kirven, Jr., Joseph E. Meachum, Harvey G. Moore, Jr., Donald E. Murphree, Herbert R. Robinson, William B. Roof, Henry H. Ruff, Jerry D. Shealy, Linden B. Smith, William C. Thompson, Walter A. Tuten, Jr. (Died 7/28/2020), Thomas A. Wicker, Shealy A. Wiles.

Airman Basic: Albert S. Alderman, Jr., Feaster S. Coleman, Jr., Grady I. Creech, and Johnny L. Starnes.

As mentioned before, these guys served all over the place, some in Moron, Spain, others served in places such Chaumont, Drux, Etain, Chaumbley, and Phalsbourg, France, others may have served in Mannheim, or Hahn, Germany, and yet others may have served at different bases in the States. One friend of mine Francis “Joe” Parham served in France, worked with the New Jersey Guard folks, even brought his wife over for a vacation, and they toured Europe.

By my calculations of 738 individuals, 191 stayed to become Retirees, which was 26 percent of the call-ups. Many became leaders and supervisors, the breakdown again shows we eventually had one Maj. Gen., five Brig. Gens., four Cols., 19 Lt. Cols., seven Majs., two Chief Warrant Officers, 50 Chief Master Sgts., 34 Senior Master Sgts., 58 Master Sgts., 10 Tech Sgts. and one Staff Sgt., totaling the 191 known Retirees.

So what am I going to do next? Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and honor those that served during that call-up. The information about this call-up comes straight out of a book listing all the call-ups from the Army and Air National Guard with some information about each unit, according to the book published by the S.C Military Department 727 Air Guard folks were called up and sent over, 620 with the 169th Tactical Fighter Group, and 107 assigned to the 240th Combat Communications Squadron. I noted the list of people may not name the AGR folks, not sure why, at least I noted that with the 240th Squadron, so if some names are left out, it is because I do not have the names of the AGRs in some cases. We had two of them in the 240th that were not named, but I know who they are and will name them, unfortunately I don’t know the AGR folks in the 169th, perhaps later down the line maybe with some help we can identify these folks. If you think about it, the 30th Anniversary of this call-up is coming up, my orders were cut December 10, 1990. Although I was out at McEntire help packing and loading up for the deployment from about that 1990 Thanksgiving on.

What is the future looking like for us Retirees? As far as luncheons, not too good, honestly, I am looking towards 2021. With the help of Nelson McLeod, and others sending me some old photos of either individuals, or groups of people, this has taken up the slack for the luncheons. As always, we try to keep our interested Retirees up to date with information. I sound like a broken record, stay vigilant, and stay safe, take care of yourselves and others until this pandemic thing eases up.