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November Retiree's Corner

Retirees from the South Carolina Air National Guard gather for their monthly luncheon at the Fort Jackson NCO Club on Feb. 7, 2020.

Retirees from the South Carolina Air National Guard gather for their monthly luncheon at the Fort Jackson NCO Club on Feb. 7, 2020, to keep in touch with each other and receive briefings on the work currently being done for Airmen at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C. (U.S. Air National Guard courtesy photo).

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

This will be my 11th Desert Storm article honoring all Desert Shield/Storm Call Ups, and the eighth of ten articles honoring the 169th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.  I have expanded more key personnel listings, and my goal is to name and honor as many people as I possibly can in this article and subsequent articles.

This month as promised, I wanted to honor the Munitions people during the Desert Storm call-up.  I didn’t know where to start, so I contacted and talked to some key people during the conflict who helped me out tremendously, they were Chief Master Sgt. Bob Hutto, Chief Master Sgt. Tom Halcum, Chief Master Sgt. Zane Wall, Chief Master Sgt. Larry Crowson, and Lt. Col. David Bell.  The definition of Munitions are the Weapons Loaders and the Bomb Builders.  I will start first with the weapons loaders. The key folks involved with the loaders were:

-Chief Master Sgt. Tom Marshall, Weapons Branch Chief

-Senior Master Sgt. Bob Hutto, Weapons Section

-Senior Master Sgt. Tom Halcum, Loading Supervisor

-Master Sgt. James F. Black, Daytime Loading Flight Chief

-Master Sgt. John L. Smith, Jr., Night Loading Flight Chief

-Tech. Sgt. James M. Lee, Weapons Release

-Master Sgt. Joe Jefferson, Gun Shop

-Master Sgt. Jack Tedder, Load Standardization

During Desert Storm combat operations there were 15 load crews, comprised each of a three man team, including a senior load chief.  The load crews have to be certified quarterly, which is the job of load standardization for training and certifying them.  I understand a load crew dropped a bomb during combat loading operations and they were immediately de-certified until later. These are tough standards. But when dealing with bombs, you better know what you are doing and do it safely.  The weapons release guys maintained the bomb racks, and weapons pylons, and would deal with any discrepancies when a release of a bomb or missile was not successful.  Again, these guys worked their butts off loading and unloading depending on frag orders coming down, unsung heroes, all of them.

Now the bomb dump is a complete different animal and something that was foreign to active duty personnel and all Air National Guard people. The reason being the bomb dump at Al Kharj was run by the Air Force, active duty people. During the Desert Storm call up here come a bunch of Air Guardsmen from South Carolina and New York, so some kind of pecking order had to be initiated.  Senior Master Sgt. Crowson was made Munitions Chief over the F-16 crews, while the F-15E crews were all active duty. Active Duty took priority, when it came to bombs and personnel. Technically Senior Master Sgt. Crowson reported to a Lt. Diehl and a Maj. Eddy, active duty munitions officers.  In order for him to take care of both McEntire and Syracuse, he had to show up on the flight line each morning to determine how many bombs were to be built for the next day’s operation.  He then went back to the bomb dump and told his bomb builders how many bombs were to be built.  If active duty folks were running short, our guys had to augment building their bombs before the F-16s bombs.  All this was done on Pad #30 at the bomb dump. The distance from this pre-positioned bomb dump was far, not sure the exact distance, but all I can tell you it was way out in the desert. The people who delivered the bombs to the flight line were steady going back and forth, night and day with a total of 39 munitions trailers. The bottom line: not too many people knew about the bomb dump, and why, as long as the bombs kept coming, the bombs loaded on the planes, and the planes flew their missions.  The bomb dump also provided 9643 containers of chaff and flare that had to be made up and loaded onto the planes.  McEntire dropped 3639 bombs during the combat operations of January 17, 1991 to February 27, 1991, which amounted to 3,958,884 pounds of munitions. That’s a lot of building and loading for 41 days of combat operations.  Syracuse’s munitions amounted to 3,014,682 pounds, while the active duty F-15E unit’s munitions numbers amounted to 4,856,700 and 6,413,920 pounds respectively. Shortly after the cease fire and end of combat operations, vast amounts of munitions were being trucked in from all other bomb dumps in Saudi Arabia making the bomb dump at Al Kharj the largest in the world. All the munitions had to be counted and inventoried, which rested on our guys being part of this. Some of the munitions were quite old, going back to the Vietnam days, at our last luncheon one of our pilots expressed his sentiments, particularly when the cluster bombs not exploding when doing some missions.

The leaders of the bomb dump are as follows according to Chief Crowson’s Organizational Chart which is combined with the Syracuse Bomb Dump folks:

-Senior Master Sgt. Lawrence W. Crowson, F-16 Bomb Dump Chief

-Master Sgt. Michael Davis, (174th) Ass’t Chief

-Tech. Sgt. Robert Mays, Expediter

Production Supervisors:

-Senior Master Sgt. Francis L. Norris

-Senior Master Sgt. Wayne Reitz (174th)

Munitions Control:

-Staff Sgt. David M. Joos

-Tech. Sgt. Zane W. Wall

-Tech. Sgt. Artis A. McCabe, Jr.

-Staff Sgt. John C. Davis

A Flight – Missile Maintenance:

-Staff Sgt. Robin Zehr (174th) Crew 1

-Staff Sgt. Kevin F. Thorpe, Crew 2

B Flight (Storage and Handling):

-Master Sgt. Thomas E. Riggs, Flight Chief

-Staff Sgt. Steve L. Mason, Jr., Ass’t Flight Chief

-Tech. Sgt. William D. Harper, Crew 1

-Staff Sgt. Howard Reel, (174th) Crew 2

Munitions Delivery (C Flight):

-Master Sgt. John Martineau, (174th) Flight Chief

-Master Sgt. Michael Drake, (174th), Ass’t Flight Chief

-Tech. Sgt. Johnny Waddell, Crew 1

-Tech. Sgt. Dennis Sagass, (174th) Crew 2

D Flight – Munitions Builders:

-Master Sgt. Lawrence P. Lasseigne, Flight Chief

-Master Sgt. Stanley D. Springer, Ass’t Flight Chief

-Tech. Sgt. Fred W. Woodard, Crew 1

-Tech. Sgt. Johnny M. Campbell, Crew 2

-Tech. Sgt. Terry R. Langus, Quality Control

There are a lot of names, but I wanted to let people know who was doing and leading the work in munitions, again all unsung heroes. Six of the Syracuse folks were permanently assigned to the active duty side. During combat operations there were people in the 169th CAMS who were assigned as augmentees to the munitions group due to the volume of workload.  Interesting enough, with all of McEntire’s subsequent deployments up to present, the bomb dump folks are assimilated with active duty troops on most of these deployments, they are not part of the 169th.  The bomb dumps overseas are usually all active duty sites.  As a side note from the last deployment to the Prince Sultan Air Base, both the bomb dump and flight line have been re-positioned.

This month’s article we are honoring the next group of 47 individuals who were deployed during the Desert Shield/Storm Call-Up.  Their rank is what they were at the time of deployment, and any other pertinent information I have about them, in addition to their rank at retirement, or they were discharged, or passed away.  They are as follows:

-Staff Sgt. James F. Rowland, Jr. (Rollo), he retired, but not sure what date.  Rollo lives, or did live about a mile from me, used to see he and his wife at Pizza Palace, unfortunately his wife died tragically about a couple of years ago.  I have lost track of him.

-Airman Basic Kevin L. Rowland, he transferred to the Air Reserve Personnel Center in 1992.

-Maj. Russell A. Rushe, he retired in 2018 as a Brigadier General, Assistant Air Adjutant General.  His dad was McEntire’s first chaplain, later he went active Air Force.

-Staff Sgt. Charles R. Russell, Jr., he retired in 2011 as a Senior Master Sgt., believed to be still living.

-Airman Michael S. Russell, he was discharged in 1994.

-Master Sgt. John S. Sarson, he was medically retired in 1999.  He passed away in 2009, and his name is on our Monument.

-Maj. Charles E. Savage, the Commander of the 169th  CAMS during Desert Storm, he retired in 2003 as a Brigadier General.  He passed away January 21, 2021, and his name will be on our Monument.

-Tech. Sgt. Paul A. Schinkel, he transferred to the Nebraska Air Guard in 1991.

-Tech. Sgt. Davey M. Schneider, he retired in 2001 as a Master Sgt., still living, helps out at the S.C. Military History Museum

-Staff Sgt. Earl C. Scoggins, Jr., he retired in 2014 as a Master Sgt., still living as far as we know.

-Airman 1st Class Stanley T. Seabrooks, he retired in 2014 as a Master Sgt., still living as far as we know.

-Tech. Sgt. Ronald L. Sewell, he transferred to the ARPC in 1992.

-Staff Sgt. Claude A. Shealy, Jr., he retired in 2000 as a Tech. Sgt., he was lead Crew Chief on Plane # 308 during Desert Storm, still living.  His dad was one of our retired Chiefs.

-Senior Master Sgt. Melton P. Shealy, III, he retired in 1999 as a Senior Master Sgt., not sure if he is still living on not?

-Staff Sgt. Daniel D. Shelley, he retired in 1997 as a Chief Master Sgt., always a weapons loader, still living.  He and his family witnessed the F-102/EC-130 crash back in 1972 while growing up in Horry County.

-Staff Sgt. Lee D. Shepherd, Jr., he retired in 2017 as a Chief Master Sgt., still living.

-Staff Sgt. Stephen P. Shepherd, he retired in 2020 as a Chief Master Sgt. and Wing Command Chief, still living, both the Shepherds are brothers.

-Staff Sgt. Randall K. Silvia, still active duty, saw him in Food Lion about a year ago. His dad was retired Security Forces guy, and Assistant Coroner of Fairfield County.

-Tech. Sgt. James Simmons, Jr., he retired in 1995 as a Tech. Sgt., not sure whether he is still living or not.

-Airman 1st Class David H. Singletary, Jr., at this time, I have no information on him.

-Airman John Z. Siokos, he was discharged in 1995.

-Staff Sgt. Andree F. Sisario, he retired in 2001 as a Tech. Sgt., at this time, we don’t know if he is living or dead.

-Staff Sgt. Rocky W. Sloan, he was discharged in 1994.

-Tech. Sgt. Aaron R. Smith, he retired in 1998 as a Master Sgt., not sure if he is living or dead.

-Airman 1st Class Harold F. Smith, Jr., he retired in 2015 as a Master Sgt., believed to be still living.

-Master Sgt. John L. Smith, Jr., he retired in 2002 as a Master Sgt., during Desert Storm, he was the night weapons loader Flight Chief.  He passed away November 30, 2020, his name will be on our Monument.

-Staff Sgt. Kenneth W. Smith, at this time, I have no information on him.

-Airman 1st Class Kevin L. Smith, he retired in 2009 as a Master Sgt., not sure if he is living or dead.

-Tech. Sgt. Melvin R. Smith, he retired in 1999 as a Master Sgt., not sure if he is living or dead.

-Tech. Sgt. Willie C. Smith, he retired in 1995 as a Tech. Sgt., not sure if he is living or dead.

-Staff Sgt. Lori Smithhart, she left in 1997 to go to Europe with her husband, they are back, and she has gotten in touch with me.

-Staff Sgt.  Chris A. Smoak, at this time, I have no information on him.

-Sgt. Richard R. Southard, he was discharged in 1993.

-Staff Sgt. John A. Spearen, Jr., he retired in 2005 as a Master Sgt. He was one of the Bomb Dump guys, and was assigned to Line Delivery during Desert Storm, he passed away September 23, 2017, his name is on our Monument.

-Airman 1st Class Marion F. Spears, III, at this time, I have no information on him.

-Staff Sgt. Sandra K. Spears, she retired in 2004 as a Tech. Sgt., not sure if she is living or dead.

-Staff Sgt. Jimmy R. Spires, he retired with disability in 1999, I believe he was with the aerospace equipment team.  I knew Jimmy personally, he worked in the Engineering Dep’t at Mental Health, lost touch with him, lived in Swansea back then.

-Staff Sgt. Larry M. Spivey, he retired in 2019 as a Chief Master Sgt., still living.

-Master Sgt. Stanley P. Springer, he retired in 1996 as a Master Sgt. , was one of the Bomb Dump guys, was Assistant Flight Chief, Conventional Munitions, during Desert Storm, he was with the 240th for a while as the Safety NCO, still living as far as we know.

-Airman 1st Class Richard A. Sprowls, III, at this time, I have no information about him.

-Sgt. David R. Steele, he retired in 2007 as a Tech. Sgt., not sure if he is living or dead.

-Staff Sgt. Kenneth B. Stevenson, he retired in 2009 as a Master Sgt., not sure if he living or dead.

-Staff Sgt. Allen R. Stewart, he just retired this year as a Lt. Col.  During Desert Storm he was part of a weapons load crew, he was commissioned and stayed with CAMS, was our Speaker several times at our Retirees Luncheons.

-Staff Sgt. Douglas W. Stewart, he transferred to the ARPC in 1991.

-Staff Sgt. Wilhelm F. Stratmann, he retired in 2013 as a Master Sgt., believed to be still living.

-Staff Sgt. Brian K. Strickland, he was discharged in 1992.

-Staff Sgt. Ronnie Stricklin, he was discharged in 1994.

Statistics for this article, we have 30 people from this group that retired.  The other 17 folks were either discharged, transferred, one is still an active member, or unknown circumstances.  The known 30 people to retire represents 64 percent featured in this article.  The breakdown of the 30 people to retire in this article by rank are two Brig. Gens., one Lt. Col., four Chief Master Sgts., three Senior Master Sgts., 13 Master Sgts. and seven Tech. Sgts. The running total of the folks honored thus far for deploying to Desert Storm, 348 have become Retirees, which represents 66.8 percent of the total of 521 deployed folks thus far.  The breakdown of the 348 Retired folks is as follows:  two Maj. Gens., six Brig. Gens., 13 Cols., 16 Lt. Cols., 8 Majs., 57 Chief Master Sgts., 55 Senior Master Sgts. 133 Master Sgts., 50 Tech. Sgts., seven Staff Sgts., and one Senior Airman for a total of 348 known Retired members to date.

Other deployments and significant happenings during the month of November:

November 1, 1961, official call up date for the Berlin Crisis.

November 16, 1975, first Mother/Daughter combination, Lt. Dola George and daughter Debra.

November 9, 1980, Operation Bright Star, both the 240th units, Comm and ATCF. 

November 27, 1990, the first official Call-Up for Desert Shield/Storm.

November 1951, the 110th Aircraft, Control & Warning Squadron was activated, over 200 personnel activated were sent to Donaldson AFB, and Germany.