MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
We had a great crowd of about 60 folks at our July Luncheon. We had a ‘newbie’ as far as the new Commander of the 169th Civil Engineer Squadron, although he told us he did his basic training at Fort Jackson some 26 years ago, Lt. Col. Richard S. Smith, who also brought along one of his enlisted advisors, Master Sgt. Terrence Hughes, we enjoyed them both. It was just a good all-around Luncheon that everyone enjoyed. I could tell because many of our Luncheon participants came up to meet our new Civil Engineer.
McEntire History: At this time we are honoring all the retired SCANG folks that have passed away, or in some cases died while they were active members, this is the second month in honoring our fallen folks who all flew their final mission to Heaven. This month they are as follows, Samuel L. Finklea Jr. (1970), Stanley M. Klimaszewski (1971), Joseph E. Gable (1972), Henry D. George (1972), Thomas C. Haygood Jr. (1972), William C. Huckaby (1972), C. T. Kelly Jr. (!972), Larry C. Barnhurst (1974), Sam F. Cooper Jr. (1974), Raymond R. Keefe (1974), William O. Bastion (1975), Cecil I. Finley (1975), James A. Keel (1975), Wylie E. Galloway (1976), and Charles B. Madden (1976). All their names are on the lower portion of the east side of the Obelisk, facing the flight line and Memorial Park. Several of these folks were pilots who died while performing flying missions and training exercises. Sam Finklea was a great administrator who enhanced the Federal Technician program nationally, he championed many benefits for them. A good group of folks who paved the way for the rest of us.
I can find no major deployments beginning in the month of August, but rest assured there were many summer camps and probably some mini deployments either too many to mention or in some cases too obscure to capture. In 1981, the 240th was part of Display Determination, and the Rapid Deployment Force traveled to Andravida Air Base, Greece, this was located on the Peninsula of Peloponnesus. There were 54 of us tasked for this deployment, actually many of us traditional Guardsmen did split deployments. I was on the last one, in which the President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, was assassinated. At first we thought we were going to be extended due to world tensions, but things calmed down, and we came home on time. Some interesting notes about this deployment. The barracks did not have hot water initially, after several days of cold showers, our power pro guys assisted the Greeks in lighting off the hot water tanks, that was a big help. We figured you would go broke as a lawn mower salesperson over there. They only had patches of grass that were very much protected. Also, there were no street lights on the base, and at that time there was no moon. I kept admiring how many stars there were in the sky which we don’t normally see here with all our ambient lighting. The Greeks would give us a salad of tomatoes with a slab of feta cheese and olive oil drizzled over it, many turned their nose up at it, but later it turned out to be delicious. Personally I found out I did not get along with the Greek Retsina wine, which has turpentine/resin in it…not good! Back during the old days Retsina wine was used as a disinfectant!
We have our August Luncheon coming up on the August 1, so please come see us at our usual meeting place, which is the Fort Jackson NCO Club. We usually start at noon, many come a bit early to chit chat with their buddies, and many stay afterwards to talk about whatever is on their minds. There are some great historical stories told that are not in any archive or historical papers. So come and be a part of this.