By Bob Barkalow Jr., Master Sgt. Retired
/ Published November 28, 2016
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- Our November Luncheon brought in about 50 or so good SCANG Retirees, spouses and others. We were in a bit of a dilemma, not knowing if we had a featured speaker, but at the last minute Abu stepped up as a great 'pinch hitter' speaker for us. That was really nice of him to break from his busy schedule as the vice wing commander. We always enjoy him coming by and seeing us, and he seems to enjoy sharing his time with us.
If you have not ever been to one of our Luncheons, or have never been, it is great. You will have enough time to visit with some of the people you worked with, knew from afar, or just meet folks you may have heard of, or just never knew at all. There is a corps of folks who show up almost every month who come from down the road to a good ways away to do this. There is an allegiance of love and respect, and I would like to see us expand our corps folks who come regularly. So I am encouraging anyone who hesitates coming to de-hesitate and come see us.
McEntire History: December 9, 1946, 50 Airmen mustered and formed up the South Carolina Air National Guard, 70 years ago at the Congaree Air Base. There were 14 officers and 36 enlisted. Two guys were absent for the first Monday night assembly. General James Dozier had the foresight to let Barnie McEntire and Bob Morrell lead the initial SCANG units with Morrell being the first person to sign up for SCANG. There were a total of four initial units, the 157th Fighter Squadron, the 157th Utility Flight and the 157th Weather Station. Then there was Detachment B, 216th Air Service Group (Fighter), commanded by Major Bob Morrell. The other three units were under the command of Lt. Col. Barnie McEntire. These units were still intact at the time of the Korean War Call Up in 1950, which we have been honoring all those call-up folks.
This month we are honoring some folks from Detachment B, 216th Air Service Group. They are; Corporals Virgil H. Amick, Jr., John M. Bateman, Hugh G. Bell, Laurence T. Brooks, Amos A. Chaney, Jack J. Colcolough, John B. Corbett, Samuel F. Dennis, Marion A. Dickert, Prince B. Eleazer, Jr., John W. Garrett, Harvey L. Golden, David A. Graddick, Everett W. Gray, Thomas M. Groetzinger, Gary T. Haile,and Clinton L. Hines. There are a few names that I recognize. The 240th had a call-up in 1996 to Tagar, Hungary. 34 folks went on this one.
The big call up was Desert Shield/Desert Storm back in 1990, 747 folks were called up, most were deployed in December 1990, some early January 1991. The breakdown by squadrons, there were 38 folks from the 169th Resources Management Squadron, 27 people from the 169th Services Flight, 17 people from the 169th Tactical Fighter Group, 58 folks from the 169th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 7 folks from the 169th Mission Support Squadron, 459 folks from the 169th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 44 folks from the 169th Security Police Flight, and 105 folks from the 240th Combat Communications Squadron. Actually the math doesn't quite add up, by this count, there were 755 folks that went? But who is counting? I also noted in my unit, we had an AGR and an active-duty advisor that went that were not counted. This could have been the same with other units. The point is there were a bunch of people who were called up for this deployment. Also, the ones who were not called up and left at home station did a stellar job keeping us supplied and encouraged. There was no definitive ending deployment date, it was more on an individual basis whenever someone would come home based on need and transportation availability. Some folks started filtering home in March of 1991, some in April, some in May, some in June, and the tail-end Charley's came out of the desert in July 1991.
Our December Luncheon takes place 6 December at the Fort Jackson NCO Club, we try to start the program we have around Noon, but a lot of folks come early so they can meet and greet with their old buddies or new friends. So to reiterate what I said earlier in this article come see us, it will be a good experience.