MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
This is my 15th Desert Storm article. I finally made it to the 240th Combat Communications Squadron, last but not least. This article primarily will be about the Air Traffic Control Section of the 240th. There were a total of 18 of these folks that handled all the incoming and outgoing air traffic flights of two squadrons of F-16s, two squadrons of F-15Es, one F-15C squadron, and two squadrons of C-130s, plus a myriad of other planes coming in and out of OEKH, Al Kharj, or call sign, “Railway”. I talked to Richard Pardue and Richard Clark and got more information on what all they did. At one time, especially during combat operations we were the busiest base in the theater. We simply had more planes than any other base. There were a total of 13 Controllers, led by the Tower Chief, Mark Morrell, who was also at times a floater. The others were based as crews and on rotational shifts, they would normally work 8 hours on, and 24 off. They all shared days, swings and mid-shifts. They were in the TSW-7 Tower, which I call the “Shoe Box.” All three controllers were stationed in the tower and during Combat Ops, there was a SOF, normally a fighter pilot from one of the squadrons, so that was four people crammed into the Shoe Box. There were times when something would break down due to various reasons. They would have to control planes from the radio van jeep under the tent next door to the tower until whatever needed to be fixed was fixed.
The following people named by crews were as follows:
A Crew: Ron Jones-Shift Supervisor, Danny Woodard, and Jerry Bell.
B Crew: Richard Clark-Shift Supervisor and Assistant Tower Chief, Mike Truell, and Chip Blount.
C Crew: John Rush-Shift Supervisor, Barry Moreland, and an augmentee, Latosynski, somehow he was sent there, he was active duty.
D Crew: Wayne Conroy-Shift Supervisor, and Air Force Air Traffic Control Advisor, Richie Pardue, and Aubrey Carde.
They did a fantastic and professional job! A small section with large responsibilities. All shifts used radar and radio circuits controlling planes in and out.
Other members of the Air Traffic Control Section were:
Marvin Bradford-Radar Maintenance
Al Emenecker-Navigation Aids
Jim Hartley-the CATCO, Air Traffic Control Commander
Larry Montgomery-weather equipment
Ernie Sowers-radar maintenance
In order to get to the tower and work station, they had to drive around the runways which took a while. But to most of us, they were on the dark side of the Moon. This is why I needed some help in writing this article. We would see them around the tent area and sometimes around the orderly room, all good guys, and my hats off to them performing as they did.
I would like to honor 53 of the 106 240th Combat Communications Squadron folks alphabetically. There are two people who are not on the list, since they were active duty, Master Sgt. Wayne Conroy, and Senior Airman Latosynski, both Air Controllers. I was able to personalize my comments and other information about most of these folks since I served with them prior to the deployment. If known, I give their rank at their retirement time, and any other pertinent information that I could find or remember. They are as follows:
- Tech. Sgt. Robert W. Barkalow, Jr. retired in 1996 as a Master Sgt. Yours truly is still living and still working with the S.C. Air National Guard Retirees.
- Senior Master Sgt. Paul V. Bell retired in 1994 as a Senior Master Sgt. He passed away December 14, 2009 and his name is on our Monument. Quite the character he lived in Woodruff, SC and later became the Mayor of Woodruff. He drove back and forth between McEntire and Woodruff almost daily in his old Toyota, had about seven engine changes, and a number of transmissions. He was the leading radio maintenance man and he was a very strong man!
- Airman 1st Class Rossie Jerry Bell is believed to be still active. He was an Air Traffic Controller as a member of the A Crew during Desert Storm.
- Staff Sgt. Ronald Billie retired in 2003. He passed away from a car accident on Bluff Road. He worked for the Post Office. Ron was part of the Radio Maintenance Team. He retired as a Master Sgt. and his name is on our Monument.
- Staff Sgt. Charles L. Blount, Jr. (Chip) he retired in 2018 as a Lt. Col. During Desert Storm Chip was an Air Traffic Controller and a member of the B Crew and is still living.
- Airman Marvin E. Bradford is still active and I see him around occasionally. At that time he was an E-8 during Desert Storm he was a radar maintenance man.
- Airman 1st Class Christopher M. Branton, he retired in 2017 as a Master Sgt., still living, during Desert Storm he was in the Telephone Maintenance Section.
- Staff Sgt. Steven W. Braswell retired in 2002 as a Master Sgt. He is still living and living in the Charleston area. During Desert Storm he worked in the Message Center.
- 1st Lt. Eugene H. Brislin, Jr. came to the 240th from The Citadel. He was a civil engineer and retired in 2013 as a Col. He was the last commander of the 240th before it was stood down. He is still living in the Summerville area. During Desert Storm he was the Comm Ops commander.
- Airman James T. Burgess retired in 2011 as a Tech. Sgt. and as a member of the Eagle Vision. During Desert Storm he worked in Record Comm section. He is still living as far as we know.
- Master Sgt. Ross C. Burgess (Smokey) retired in 1992 as a Master Sgt. He was AGR, which was rare back then. He got the name Smokey because he was a volunteer firefighter at Lake Wateree and he smoked. He always wore tennis shoes. He passed away December 22, 2004 and his name is on our Monument. During Desert Storm he worked in Job Control. I spent many of watches with him.
- Staff Sgt. Aubrey Carde retired in 2011 as a Chief Master Sgt. He was an Air Traffic Controller. During Desert Storm he was part of the D Crew. He was very dynamic fellow. I played some golf with him. I believe he is still living but I lost track of him.
- Staff Sgt. James F. Clark was from the NCANG as an augmentee. He was a nice guy but I lost track of him. I believe he was from around the Winston Salem area. He was part of the Power Production Section.
- Master Sgt. Richard D. Clark retired in 1995 as a Master Sgt. He is still living. I talk to him some. He was an Air Traffic Controller and he was the supervisor of the B Crew as well as the Assistant Tower Chief.
- Master Sgt. Walter E “Gene” Clark, Jr., he retired with me in 1996 as a Senior Master Sgt. He joined SCANG and did his basic training at McEntire. He served 42 years in SCANG. He is still living and resides around the corner from me. He stayed big in Boy Scouts for years. He was my Supervisor during Desert Storm in the Communications Focal Point. Gene also retired from Bell South.
- Master Sgt. Preston M. Cook retired in 2003 as a Chief Master Sgt. in the Civil Engineers. During Desert Storm he was part of the Power Production Crew. He is still living as far as I know.
- Sgt. Brian T. Cope. I can’t find him retiring. I believe he moved on, not sure where. Back then he lived or grew up in Boykin. Other than that I have no further information about him. During Desert Storm he was part of the Comm Maintenance crew.
- Tech. Sgt. David L. Coward retired in 2003 as a Master Sgt. He is still living. I would see his dad at the golf course and he would update me about David. He was in lumber sales in Greenville and then Myrtle Beach. I saw David in Conway a couple of years ago at a restaurant, good guy, very dependable. He was in the Sat Comm section.
- Staff Sgt. Ronald E. Crosland did not retire. I’m not sure what happened to him. During Desert Storm he worked in the Message Center.
- Staff Sgt. Michael S. Deshong retired in 2005 and later worked as a contract civilian in the communication field all over the world. He retired as a Master Sgt. He is still living. He and his dad Fred were one of the father/son teams during Desert Storm. He worked in Tech Control.
- Tech. Sgt. William L. Dove (Billy) retired in 1992 as a Tech. Sgt. He retired medically and was the Tech Control Supervisor during Desert Storm. He was a great guy to be around and he always lived in Winnsboro where he worked for General Telephone. I haven’t been able to communicate with him lately.
- Senior Master Sgt. Gary A. Dugger retired in 2003 as Chief Master Sgt. He was quite the electronics guy if there was a tough problem. He loved to deer hunt and lived or lives still in the Swansea area. He was the Sat. Comm Supervisor during Desert Storm.
- Staff Sgt. Donald M. Duncan retired in 2003 as a Master Sgt. He worked in the Message Center. Don went all over the state and country working for Firestone Tires. When he retired he was like the District Manager in the Seattle area and did very well. At one time there were three Duncan brothers in the Air Guard. His mother used to hold court at Nick’s Pizza in West Columbia. I used to get in some good conversations with her.
- Tech. Sgt. Willie L. Durant retired in 2006 as a Master Sgt. He is still living. In Desert Storm he was part of the Power Production Team. Willie always kept us going.
- Master Sgt. William B. Easterlin, Jr. was an active member and full time technician when he passed away in 1994. It was a shock to the 240th members. Bill was the supervisor of the Supply Section of the 240th. I believe he grew up in the Walterboro area. At the time of his death, he was a Master Sgt.
- Master Sgt. Timothy C. Egan retired in 1996 as a Master Sgt. Tim was the supervisor of the Message Center that processed copious amounts of communication traffic during Desert Storm. Tim was in the liquor business for years. Finally he settled down in Rock Hill and runs a liquor store. He is still living and he comes to some of our luncheons. He is a good guy!
- Tech. Sgt. Albert W. Emenecker retired in 1994 as a Master Sgt. During Desert Storm he was one of our Nav Aids guys. He was sort of a laid back cool guy and is still living as far as we know.
- Airman 1st Class Terry S. Eubanks. I don’t have him retiring and I am not sure what happened to him or where he is at, or still living. During Desert Storm he was part of the Telephone Maintenance Section.
- Airman Lyndon J. Evans retired in 2009 as a Master Sgt. He was a good guy and was quiet. I got to know him during Desert Storm since he worked in Tech Control right behind where I worked. I believe he lives in the Charlotte area.
- Airman 1st Class David M. Fowler. I don’t have him retiring and I lost track of him. I remember him but that is about it. During Desert Storm he was one of our Sat Comm guys.
- Master Sgt. Marvin W. Fowler (Brad), my old buddy. I always called him Marvin Brad. He retired in 1992 as a Master Sgt. He was a salt of the earth type guy. You could always count on him. He was the Radio Ops Supervisor and during Desert Storm he supervised the Mars Station. He also would assist some in CFP. Our families were very close. He and his wife Lorena are still living. They were high school sweethearts in Loris. Brad also retired from Fort Jackson. He worked in the boiler plants.
- Airman Tony R. Fox is another one that I have nothing on. I lost track of him. I don’t have him retiring. During Desert Storm he worked in the Message Center. Tony and I got to sit in the jump seat in our C-130 coming home June 22, 1991 from Seymour-Johnson AFB one quiet Sunday afternoon. That was a good experience. I got to observe the pilots take off and land.
- Tech. Sgt. Richard H. Gilbert, Jr. retired in 2005 as a Chief Master Sgt. He was always involved with Communications Security, handling of classified documents, etc. Rich also retired from the state as a state auditor. He and I would compare notes about auditing since I worked as an internal auditor for about 10 years of my state service.
- Staff Sgt. Joseph B. Golphin. I don’t have him retiring. I lost track of him. During Desert Storm I believe he worked in Sat Comm Maintenance.
- Master Sgt. Allen W. Green was another one of my buddies. He was one half of the Green Boys Team. He retired in 1996 as a Master Sgt. During Desert Storm, Allen was our security guy. He actually went and graduated prior to Desert Storm from the Security Forces school. He was in charge of our weapons and security when deployed. He was a former Army guy and served in Vietnam as helicopter crew chief and door gunner. Allen and his brother were from the Aiken/North Augusta area. Allen died in an unfortunate car wreck visiting with some the 240th folks in Savannah in 1999. His name is on our Monument.
- Master Sgt. Robert J. Green (Jerry) retired in 1993 as a Master Sgt. He was the other half of the Green Boys Team. They were a trip. Jerry was also a Vietnam Vet and was with ASA which gave him a good background in Communications and Security. During Desert Storm he worked in the Message Center. He loved being around the Green Boys. They would come over to my house at times. Jerry passed away March 29, 2014 and his name is on our Monument.
- Staff Sgt. Robert E. Greene. I don’t have him retiring. I thought he did. We called him Green E to differentiate between all the Green guys. I still have him in our address book. He lived in Georgia. I need to find out more about him. He was a good guy. He worked in teletype maintenance.
- Senior Master Sgt. Ronald P. Gregory retired in 1993 as a Chief Master Sgt. During Desert Storm he was the Maintenance Supervisor. He was a great guy to be around and very knowledgeable about many things. We relied heavily on Ron’s expertise and leadership. He had a way about him to calm people down. Ron came from the 169th to the 240th and he always took everyone under his wing to make sure they were trained and knew how to do their job. Ron lives in Eastover. He and his brother Bobby originally came from Whitmire. Ron was one of those people who could fix or do anything.
- Staff Sgt. Susan M. Grondin did not retire. She keeps in touch. Her husband was active Air Force and they live in Sumter. When back from Desert Storm, she went back home. She worked in the Message Center.
- Master Sgt. Melvin E. Harp retired in 1997 as a Senior Master Sgt. Mel was one of two of our Hammer-Rick guys which was a satellite shot. If everything was going right, the Hammer Rick guys would hang around Job Control/CFP waiting for something to happen. I believe the Hammer-Rick shot would have the ATOs sent in. Mel lived up off of Ridge Road. He was a technician or AGR I’m not sure. I would come across Mel walking with a back pack through Fort Jackson at times. He had red hair and if he got upset, his face would turn beet red. He passed away in 2006 and his name is on our Monument.
- Maj. James D. Hartley, Jr. retired in 2008 as a Lt. Col. I can’t remember the year, but after Desert Storm, the Air Traffic Control group became the 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron. I’m not sure if he was the commander for a while or not. During Desert Storm he was the Air Traffic Control Commander (CATCO). After retiring he was in charge of the National Guard Association for a while. At that time he lived in the Pond Branch, or lake area, now I believe he is in the low country.
- Sgt. Keith D. Hass was the other Hammer-Rick maintenance guy. He also had a brother who was a crew chief in CAMS during Desert Storm. The brother was discharged in 1994. Keith may have followed suit. I don’t have him retiring. Keith was a good guy. I got to know him some.
- Staff Sgt. Eddie R. Heller. I don’t have him retiring. During Desert Storm he worked in Telephone Maintenance. I remember him but don’t know what happened to him.
- Staff Sgt. Kenneth E. Hendrix retired in 2006 as a Master Sgt., He also worked with the Telephone Maintenance Team. Ken is still living. He helped put on a 240th Desert Storm Reunion which was successful. Ken lives in Lexington. He sort of lives a frugal life. He didn’t have a computer and I really haven’t heard from him in a while. He used to call me some and give me an update on different people.
- Staff Sgt. Efrem Z. Hill. I don’t have him retiring. The Z stood for Zimbalist. Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., said his mother loved Efrem Z, so she named Efrem after him. I just called him Efrem or Z man. Efrem and some of us would go play golf at our Al Kharj course when things settled down. I killed four vipers and he wanted to get one. One day one shot out of a rock formation and I started to pound him with my 8 iron. Efrem yelled Bob let me finish him off. I just stepped back and let him have at it. It made him happy. That is why I claim 4.5 kills.
- Tech. Sgt. Nathaniel Howard is another one I don’t have retiring. I need more research on some of these folks who I thought retired! Nate was also in Telephone Maintenance.
- Maj. Calvin M. Huneycutt (Mark) did not retire but moved on to other units in the Air Guard. Last I heard he was the commander of the Arkansas Air National Guard Communications Squadron. Mark was involved with many pursuits. He got into the early house alarm systems with AT&T if I am not mistaken. During Desert Storm, he was one of our Maintenance Officers.
- Tech. Sgt. David W. Irving retired in 2003 as a Chief Master Sgt. During Desert Storm he worked in the Message Center. Later after Desert Storm, he became the 240th First Sergeant. When I first came into the 240th Dave was an Orangeburg Deputy Sheriff and was into martial arts. Later he went to work for one of the concrete plants along I-95, He married one of our radio ops troops, Mary, and they got into horses for a while. They were quite the team. Now they live in Florence and I keep in touch with them some.
- Staff Sgt. David E. Jollay. I don’t have him retiring so I am not sure what happened to him or where he is at? He worked with Radio Maintenance during Desert Storm.
- Senior Master Sgt. Ronald W. Jones did not retire. I believe he resigned, during Desert Storm he was an Air Traffic Controller, and he was the Supervisor for the A Team. He seemed like he was a high energy person.
- Master Sgt. Walter E. Kemp, Jr. (Ed), he retired in 1999 as a Senior Master Sgt., Ed was part of the Radio Maintenance Section. If you saw one, you pretty much saw them all, Ed, Paul Bell, Ron Billie, and Danny Turner, you got a package deal if you had a problem. Ed worked for the Springdale Police Dep’t, and he also ran a business on Whaley St, that repaired jacks. Ed, and I drove a M-35 all over Saudi Arabia trying to pick up some Sat Com equipment along with Mike Reeves and Pete Wiedel, we saw some sights and experienced them. I remember having a fever when getting back for about 24 hours breathing all that desert dust.
- Staff Sgt. James R. Knight, another person, not sure what happened to him, I thought he was from Orangeburg, but I lost track of him. He worked with the Electronic Switch Maintenance crew.
- Staff Sgt. Pamela R. Krolewicz-Milas didn’t stay long. She worked in the Message Center and I believe she just had a baby. Prior to that she was with the 169th and if I recall she worked for a company that fixed copy machines. I don’t believe she retired from the Air Guard.
Statistics for this article, we have 34 people out of 51 that became Retirees, which is 66.7 percent of the total, two are still active members. The breakdown of the 34 people by rank are 1 Col., 2 Lt. Cols., 6 Chief Master Sgts., 4 Senior Master Sgts., 19 Master Sgts. and 2 Tech. Sgts. The running total for the 703 deployed Desert Storm personnel to date is 470 of these folks have become Retirees, which is almost 67 percent of the total. The breakdown thus far by rank are 2 Maj. Gens., 6 Brig. Gens., 15 Cols., 21 Lt. Cols., 8 Majs., 1 Capt., 75 Chief Master Sgts., 72 Senior Master Sgts., 195 Master Sgts., 66 Tech. Sgts., 8 Staff Sgts., and 1 Senior Airman for a total of 470 Retirees.