By Robert Barkalow Jr., Master Sgt. (Retired)
/ Published January 12, 2017
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- The December Luncheon was bizarre. Usually I use the words terrific, great, wonderful, etc. When we first walked in the Excalibur Room, our usual meeting room, the MWR lady who usually collects the money at the door, told us somebody had already paid for the Luncheon. I was shocked and surprised, pleasantly that is. It turned out our featured speaker, Lt. Col. John Wilcox, magnanimously purchased all the attending Retirees Lunches. Plus he brought a model of an F-16 and raffled it off. One of our infrequent guests from Lancaster won it, I can't think of his name, neat guy.
Lt. Col. Wilcox also brought his family and they circulated themselves by getting people's names and then handed out the raffle tickets. All in all, it was a good Luncheon, and for those of you who didn't make it, you missed a great, there's that word again, Luncheon! I am guessing this gifted luncheon was an anomaly, and there will be no expectations for the featured speakers paying for the Retirees lunch fare. It is usually the other way around, the Retirees pay for the featured speaker's food that is the least we can do for their participation.
McEntire History: Beginning in January 2000, many members, around 270, of the 169th, 240th and 245th deployed to Turkey, Operation Northern Watch, ensuring Saddam Hussein did not venture north of the 36th Parallel. On this deployment, eight jets were involved and we were the first Guard unit to employ the High Speed Anti-radiation missile and targeting pod. There were 170 SEAD missions flown, and a total of 770 flying hours all total during this deployment. Many of the members got to enjoy several tours around the historic sites in Turkey, so it was a combined work and play deployment.
Did you know that we have a minimum of 1,313 retirees since the SCANG was formed up? The reason I say minimum, I feel we have missed some folks over time, especially during the 1987-93 era, which I have been calling the 'missing link' years. So I am estimating we have 1,350+ Retirees overall over the past 53 years. The 53 years represents when the first retirees retired during the year, 1963, even though SCANG is 70 years old.
We are still honoring the Korean War Call Up folks, and for this month we have the following folks assigned to Detachment B, 216th Air Service Group: Corporals Alvin Holley, Duane W. Hopkins, David L. Johnston, LeRoy Kelly, David D. Kennedy, Alfred G. Kinsey, John O. Kinsey, William R. Latham, Harold F. McCoy, Henry L. Milne, Jr., David E. Monts, Frank K. Moorer, Donald S. O'Cain, Russell G. Pleasant, Henry H. Plowden, Jr., and Charles A. Rivers.
As a recent tradition, we will have a short Memorial Service at the end of our January Luncheon to commemorate our Retirees and SCANG members who have made their final flight during the past year of 2016. We have another anomaly at our January Luncheon, and that is because we are going to do it the second Tuesday of the month instead of the first. This is due to the NCO Club asking us to change to the 10th of January instead of the 3rd of January. They open on the third, but usually they are in a state of disarray due to being closed down over the holidays. So the January Luncheon is scheduled for January 10th, at the Fort Jackson NCO Club beginning at 1200. Please make a note of this. We don't want you to go out there on the 3rd of January. Based on past experiences, there will be several that will go out the 3rd? We can only hope for a wonderful, healthy and safe New Year.