MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
The Luncheons keep on getting better! This time a little something different, we had Chief Master Sgt. Tommy Nash and Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Byrd, workers in the vineyard, as one of my old bosses used to say, come by and visit with us. They gave us a perspective on the munitions side. The retirees really enjoyed the interaction with them. Most of the Chiefs who have been stopping by to see us lately all say they will be joining our ranks soon. The nice thing is we had to postpone the meeting for a short while so the Club could set up another table. We had 63 people, only one empty chair in the room. The Excalibur Room is where we normally have our Luncheon. It is nicely decorated, well lit, and a great room to have our meetings. Plus the food is good most of the time. They try hard to please us is one reason we don’t go elsewhere and we don’t need headcounts.
McEntire History: We have been honoring the 276 names on our Monument as of late. Right now we are in the midst of names. For engraving purposes, we have one large granite block that holds 75 names which faces the west side of the obelisk. There are five rows of 15 names each and for this article we honoring the 2nd column. The names are as follows:
1. Amos A. Frick. A 1979 retiree. He passed away in 2005. His picture is on page 85 in the 25th Anniversary Book.
2. Boyd M. Jenkinson. He was a ‘missing link’ person and retired in 1988. He passed away in 2005. His picture is on page 105 in the 40th Anniversary Book. He was a Berlin Call-Up Crisis guy attached to 169th CAMS.
3. M.D. Campbell (Marvin). He was one of our ‘missing link’ people. He retired in 1990 and passed away in 2005. Marvin’s picture is on page 82 in the 25th Anniversary Book and page 123 in the 40th Anniversary Book.
4. Richard A. Epting. Another ‘missing link’ guy. He retired in 1989. His picture is on page 142 in the 40th Anniversary Book. Anyone who was in the 240th knew Richard, he was the training NCO. He had a quiet demeanor about him, neat guy. I believe he fell off a ladder while painting his house in Cherry Grove Beach and broke his back. I remember he wore a back brace for a good while. He died in 2006.
5. John H. Mills. He was discharged in 1976. Jack Coward would go to the assisted living home and pick him up and bring him to our Breakfasts until he passed away in 2006. There were rumors that John survived the Bataan Death March and he was told to dig his own grave, but he survived. I don’t believe it was true, but that was the story back then. John’s picture is on page 82 in the 25th Anniversary Book.
6. Bobby G. Gregory. Another ‘missing link’ guy. He retired in 1988. Bobby and Ron Gregory were brothers, originally from Whitmire. Bobby was in Operations and a Berlin Call-Up guy attached to the Fighter Squadron. After Bobby retired he would bring his grandson to the Fort Jackson Golf Club and have a beer, then go on home. I would talk to him about a variety of things. He passed away in 2006. His picture is on page 69 in the 25th Anniversary Book and page 98 in the 40th Anniversary Book.
7. Edward W. Bartsch. He retired in 1976, he passed away in 2006. His picture is on page 76 in the 25th Anniversary Book, looked to be a large fellow. He also was a Berlin Crisis Call-Up guy, attached to the 169th CAMS.
8. Tom A. Joyner. Retired in 1984 and he died in 2006. His picture is on page 87 in the 25th Anniversary Book. He also was a Berlin Call-Up guy attached to the 169th Material Squadron. If I am not mistaken, Tom lost a leg either from diabetes or a circulation problem.
9. Alton G. Cox. Retired in 1963. His notoriety to us Retirees is he was the first person to retire in the South Carolina Air National Guard. The very first! He was a Berlin Call-Up guy attached to the 169th Air Base Squadron. He passed away in 2006.
10. Rob R. (Roy) Honeycutt, Sr. He retired in 1976. His notoriety was the fact he was the last living ‘original 50’ SCANG member. He mustered with the other 49 folks December 9, 1946. Rob Roy would come to some of our Breakfasts. I went to his funeral August 12, 2006, at the Greenlawn Funeral Home Chapel and he was buried at Greenlawn Memorial Park. His picture is on page 76 in the 25th Anniversary Book. He was also a Berlin Call-Up guy attached to 169th CAMS. I am sure he was a WWII vet.
11. Melvin E. Harp. He retired in 1997 and passed away in 2006. I served with Mel in the 240th, went to Desert Storm with him. He and another guy were the Hammer Rick Satellite guys, if anything went wrong they would check it out. Mel was somewhat different, he had a temper, but he calmed down fast. I would see Mel walking through Fort Jackson with a backpack on at times. I got to know him fairly well because he would hang out in the 240th Ops tent during Desert Storm.
12. Bobby E. Morton. He retired in 1986 and also passed away in 2006. His picture is on page 79 in the 25th Anniversary Book.
13. J. B. Broadway (James). Another ‘missing link’ person. He retired in 1987 and died in 2006.
14. Ronald L. Trotter, Sr. (Officially it should be Ronald R. Trotter, Sr.). Ron retired in 1995 and died in 2006. Another funeral I attended, along with quite a few of McEntire people. In our era, if you didn’t know Ron at McEntire you had to be a recluse, he knew everyone. I remember him being at the clinic more so than other places he may have worked. His picture is on page 107 in the 40th Anniversary Book with the Fabrication Shop and page 94 in the 25th Anniversary Book with the Clinic. Later in life, Ron would come to our Breakfasts, he lost one leg, and later the second. I always marveled his upbeat attitude he had about his situation. We would see him at the Commissary in his power wheelchair. He even took me out to his truck and showed me how he got himself in and out of his truck.
15. W. Ronald Barlow. All I can tell you about him is he died in 2006. There is no information about him that I can find now. If anybody knows anything about him, please let me know.
If you noticed, I made editorial comments about the people I knew back then. You may or may not agree with my viewpoint. My only goal is to personalize these folks that I knew to honor their memory. Personally, I want them to be remembered and not just be a name on a Monument that nobody can remember.
May Deployments: I am not seeing any major deployments during the month of May. I noticed there was the first deployment to Panama in 1979, Operation Coronet Cove. The A-7 guys ought to remember that. Also, in 1983, the 240th went to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida for an Operational Readiness Inspection. I remember it well. We ate at the Ranger Base and later had a few beers with them after the ORI at their canteen. They would mess with us, come up and scrawl in chalk, ‘Rangers were here’ on our vans. They had to have night vision goggles way before we had anything like that. I had the night duty and would walk around our radio tent to ensure they wouldn’t get me. They didn’t.