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April Retiree's Corner

  • Published
  • By Robert (Bob) W. Barkalow Jr.
  • Master Sgt. (Retired)

We had a good crew show up for another cold day Luncheon, about 60 or so showed up, and this time no first-timers, hint hint? You'll see, you get your name in print as a first-timer, better than the Obituary!


Lt. Col. Mark Hall, commander of the 169th Communications Flight, as all our guest McEntire liaisons, did us well by his visit. As a side note, he was born and raised in Marion, Ohio. Named for, you guessed it, Francis Marion. So he is a true Swamp Foxer.  Again, we have a variety of people coming from all directions.  The Hawkins from Rock Hill, the Webb's from Florence County, Fred Voss from Aiken County, R.G. Turner from Sumter, the Keisler's from way out Lexington County and many other locals. So don't let distance factor in not coming. By having the Luncheons, it gives you more time to get there, and do other 'errands' if you need. Right now the Fort offers many services to us Retirees, so take advantage of them while you can and they still exist.


McEntire History:  We will embark on honoring our 2008 Retirees, there were 46 of them by my count, so we will do them in three different monthly increments. They are as follows by chronological order; Col. R. Scott Cain. Lt. Col's Nelson McLeod and James Nottoli.  CMSgt Howard Faver. SMSgt's Byron Shealy, Leon Truax, Jr. and Johnny Hallman, III.  MSgt's Terry Gillian, Hattie Spann, Michael Robinson, Julian James, Latanya Taylor and Johnathan Vance.  TSgt's Eddie Bowen, Walter Rose and Curtiss McFadden.


We also had in our history several other events for the month of April; the forming of the 240th back in April 18, 1952. At that time it was formed up as the 240th Airways and Air Communication Service (240 AACS). I used to see that nomenclature on our fly-away kits, not understanding at that time what it stood for? As you know the 240th was stood down March 31, 2008.  In April of 2001, there was a deployment by the 169th back to our old Desert Storm home, Al Kharj. It was re-named by then to Prince Sultan Air Base. About 225 folks went on that deployment. It was part of Operation Southern Watch that was used to thwart Saddam Hussein in Iraq at that time from expanding his horizons again. A more recent deployment beginning in April 2012 was the four month deployment to Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom at Kandahar Air Base. About 500 folks went on this deployment. I 'failed' to mention another deployment by the 240th back in 2002, that  provided communications support to the newly opened, former Russian air base, in Manas Kyrgyzstan. There were 44 folks who went for a six month tour.


I saw a PowerPoint presentation of this deployment. The country was forlornly beautiful, and mountainous.  The base was one of the gateways into Afghanistan. There are many other deployments made by the 240th, CE and Security Forces that at this time I have been unable to identify and recognize. But I am working on it as well as several other projects.


Our next Luncheon will be April 1st, no fooling! It will be, of course, at the Fort Jackson NCO Club, beginning at 1200. Come a bit early and stay a while afterwards to converse with your old and new buddies. As I have said before, I hate to break up the many conversations going on between all the folks. They reluctantly sit down to get on with our usual festivities.  Then while enjoying the meal the conversations crank back up. When Buck Buchanan was alive, he would notoriously be one of the last ones to leave. Sometimes we would leave him there to run our errands.  By having the liaisons coming from McEntire, I feel we are as informed about the Base, and Retiree issues, as people who work there. So don't be bashful, come see us.