MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
For our September Luncheon we had right at 55 folks visit with us, as always a good group. We routinely send out various pictures of the Luncheon to let everyone see who shows up and also to let you see how everyone is ‘aging’ in the group. I am trying to be funny, but when people go to reunions there is a human tendency to compare how you are doing with your fellow counterparts. Enough of my social, psychological babble, but I bet everyone knows what I am talking about.
We had the honor to have a fellow retiree as our featured speaker, Lt. Col. John Wilcox, however he has been called back to duty for a while, and found himself as an honored pilot during General Stan Hood’s Missing Man formation last month over the Fort Jackson National Cemetery. Actually, he flew the number 4 position in a three ship formation, which is a little tougher, and he did an admirable job not only in my opinion but others who observed the flight. Lt. Col. Wilcox informed us about the deployment, as well as what is happening at the base. I have maintained if you come to our Luncheons regularly you will know as much as the average civilian technician at the base. It keeps your ear to the ground as to what is happening at McEntire, the present and the future. My job is to remind us of the past. Speaking of that, we have been honoring all the folks listed on our Monument, all 276 of them, doing 15 at a time, so here goes.
McEntire History: For the month of October, we have the following 15 people whose names are located on the first single granite block located on the north side of the Monument facing the water tower on Horrell Hill. Some of these folks I either knew personally, or knew of them. If I know them I try to personalize them to remind you, the reader, about them. They are as follows:
1. Leonard D. Beckham “Jitterbug”. I have him retiring in 1979. Leonard passed away August 31, 2011. Not sure how he got the nickname of Jitterbug, I can only imagine he was a good jitterbugger? He was, I believe, a WWII veteran in the Navy, not sure what he did in the Navy. He was a Korean War Call-Up as a Sgt. attached to the 157th Fighter Squadron. Leonard was also a Berlin Crisis Call-Up as a Master Sgt. attached to the 169th Air Base Squadron. His picture is in the 25th Anniversary Book, page 87, bottom picture. At that time he was attached to the 169th Combat Support, Food Service. I do believe he was one of Congaree/McEntire’s chefs for a long time and when he got through work, he went jitterbugging?
2. Richard A. McKellips, “Mac”. He was an active member when he passed away. I and many others went to his funeral at Greenlawn Funeral Home. He passed away September 27, 2011. He was born in California, joined the Air Force in 1984 and separated from there in 1994. He then joined the SCANG in 1999 and was an active fulltime member up to 2011, upon his death. I don’t remember what he did, although Bo Heustess and Chaplain Bohlman did a eulogy on him.
3. Marion S. Outten Jr. “Soup”. Marion was a 1980 retiree, he died October 4, 2011. Marion retired as Master Sgt. and I believe he was attached to our Dispensary. After he retired from the SCANG he went to work for the VA Hospital as an EEG and EKG technician. Later he opened Outten’s Auto Service. Marion was one of our faithful Breakfast crowd. In addition to that, I used to run into him at the Fort Jackson commissary and had some long talks with him, that’s how I got to know him better. He was a good guy.
4. John C. Shealey. He was a 1971 retiree after serving 23 years in the SCANG, retiring as a Master Sgt. I know very little else about him, I could not find any information on him downtown. I thought he might be part of the 240th since his civilian job was with AT&T and Bell South. I did not find him in the 25th Anniversary Book. He passed away October 10, 2011.
5. Karl S. Bowers was a 1982 retiree. He passed away January 31, 2012. Karl was a Berlin Call-Up guy, he was an A3/C attached to the 169th Air Base Squadron. Later he commanded the 169th Combat Support, Security Police. Before I was married, one of my roommates, Mike Campbell, who was in the SCANG at that time, would bring Karl home to some of our parties back then. Karl was an engineer and later became the head of the Federal Highway Commission. If you go to Hilton Head you will cross over the Karl S. Bowers Bridge. Later I got to know Karl and his wife Susan, at the American Legion. Everyone loved him, he was just a very personable guy. I and many others went to his funeral, he had many friends. His picture is on page 86, bottom picture in the 25th Anniversary Book.
6. Curtis S. Godwin, a 1969 retiree. There were only about 18 retirees ahead of him. Curtis would come to our Breakfasts/Luncheons and proudly tell us how old he was. He died when he was 95. Looking at his obituary he was a WWII veteran. He served in General Patton’s 3rd Army, 319th Infantry. Later, he was one of our Korean War Call-Up guys as a Staff Sgt. attached to the 157th Fighter Squadron. I did not find him as a Berlin Crisis Call-Up, strange?
7. Timothy A. Bodie, a 2006 retiree. He retired as a Senior Master Sgt. He passed away February 28, 2012. He was a Desert Storm veteran, as a Staff Sgt. attached to the 169th CAMS.
8. John W. Aiken. One of our 1979 retirees and one of our older Chiefs. He was 92 when he passed on March 7, 2012. I really didn’t know him, just knew he was well thought of and highly respected. He was a U.S. Army veteran of WWII, and was one of our Korean War Call-Up guys as a Staff Sgt. attached to the 157th Fighter Squadron. He was also a Berlin Call-Op as a Senior Master Sgt. attached to Headquarters 169th Fighter Group. From his obituary he was the owner of a blueberry farm, called the Double A Farms.
9. Charles L. Mielke, “Chuck”. He was one of our renowned pilots. He served for 30 years at Congaree/McEntire, also he was one of the safety officers. He flew the F-80, F-86s, F-104, F-102, and the A7D. He was a 1984 retiree and he passed away April 11, 2012 at the age of 79. Actually I knew his wife Pat more than Chuck, she has been a faithful email companion for years, however, she is now living in an assisted living environment. She had Chuck buried in the Jower’s family plot, her family, out of Blackville, S.C. Chuck is pictured on page 69 in the 25th Anniversary Book.
10. Jamey T. Edwards. He passed away May 17, 2012. He was one of our firefighters, both as a Guardsman and state employee for years. Later he transferred to Emergency Management as a traditional Guardsman and became the shop superintendent. He worked as a civilian full time at Shaw Air Force Base. He went through fighting cancer for some time. He was a Senior Master Sgt. His picture is on page 126 in the 40th Anniversary Book, bottom picture with most of the firefighters at that time.
11. Alfred R. Rowe Sr. “Jack”. He passed away May 28, 2012 at age 74. He retired from the SCANG in 1994. He was a Berlin Call-Up guy as an A1/C attached to the 169th Material Squadron. Later he became a firefighter, retiring in 1994, and is pictured on page 126, bottom picture with the firefighters. I have him retiring as a Master Sgt., although his obituary said he retired as a Chief Master Sgt. I need to verify this.
12. K. S. Moore. Unfortunately, I have no information on this person.
13. Marie E. Gagne, “Connie”. She was the first female retiree, retiring in 1989. She passed away at her home in Spartanburg at age 64. She was a Vietnam Veteran, she worked in the SCANG Headquarters and she was always helpful and nice what I remember about her, a very personable person. She was born and raised in Maine and laid to rest there also. She is pictured in the 40th Anniversary Book on page 118, bottom picture with the 169th Combat Support Squadron.
14. Jewell F. Lillard. One of our 1997 retirees. He joined the U.S. Air Force, got out and later joined the SCANG. He was a Desert Storm veteran attached to the 169th CAMS as a Tech. Sgt. He is pictured in the 40th Anniversary Book on page 105, bottom picture, CAMRON Fuel, Electrical. He was 62 when he left this earth. Apparently he lived in Clarendon County based on obituary information.
15. Arliss R. Hallman. A 1986 retiree. I have him retiring as a Master Sgt., also he was a Berlin Call-Up guy attached to the 169th CAMS as Tech. Sgt. He passed away August 25, 2012. He is pictured in the 25th Anniversary Book on page 75, bottom picture, 169th CAMRON Engine Shop.
We will have our October Luncheon on the 2nd at our usual place, the Fort Jackson NCO Club at noon. The Luncheon costs $11.00 and the fellowship is great, so please come see us October 2nd.