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January 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 13th Desert Storm Article honoring all Desert Shield/Storm Call-Ups, and the last of 10 articles honoring the 169th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (CAMS). I have tried to achieve the listing of as many people who were in a position of leadership during Combat Operations. Yet many were not named or listed, but by now hopefully anyone reading the Desert Storm articles understand there is only so much room in an article and everyone should realize they were a part of history and part of SCANG that was highly recognized by all, all the way to the National Guard Bureau and Pentagon.

In summation, the 459 men and women assigned to the 169th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron performed superbly by all standards. The jockeying of 24 aircraft, and routinely needing 36 aircraft a day for combined missions was a work of art, yet maintaining as much as possible the rigidity of maintenance requirements, planned or unplanned. All shops had to be on their toes during combat operations day and night. It was like an elongated Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI).  All branches of CAMS had to make adjustments from the good ole days at McEntire to the new surreal world of combat and regular Air Force. The Administrative Branch had to learn to receive and send secret messages. They had to come up with building a maintenance tent while keeping up with flying schedules, and routine promotions and training requirements. The Avionics guys had to fast learn About the ECM Pods, something they were not familiar with back home. They had to set up all their test stations, later during combat operations they had to switch all the plane radios from unsecure to secure. The Field Maintenance Group had their hands full with sand storm issues causing O Ring problems with the Halon bottles which they were not accustomed to. This and having to do 17 engine changes which is usually a two day operation. Also the cleaning up all parts from the sand corrosion. In addition, the Field Maintenance Group had to deal with the wing tank build up. The Munitions Group more or less combined with the New York Squadron for a better flow of munitions. When Munitions first got there, they had to unpack many pallets, yet they started receiving materials to start building the MK-82 bombs. The third day there they built 246 MK-82 bombs. In most cases they had enough bombs built 12 hours before they were needed. The 58 people assigned to this Group helped build over 3000 MK-82, 1500 MK-84, and 700 CBU bombs and delivered them.

The Weapons Group, comprised of the Weapons Release Shop of 11 assigned personnel, ensured the aircraft bomb racks, missile launchers, and weapons release systems worked properly. Weapons Loaders had 15 three man teams, loading up a myriad of 3,639 type of bombs, plus all the needed chaff and flares. The Gun Shop helped load the 20mm Gatling guns and download them at times, 23 of our 24 planes fired the 20mm guns. The Crew Chiefs had to hustle every shift to maintain their planes or get them repaired as quickly as possible. All in all, along with what their regular jobs they had to do, the Goatherders had to set up tents, provide security, build sand bags and bunkers, in other words everyone had to chip in and do what was needed to be done, many things were new and they had to learn on the fly.  An admirable job by the nicknamed Goatherders, something they all can be proud of, hold their heads high, also something they can take to their graves that they were an instrumental part of history during Operation Desert Storm.

This month’s article we are honoring the last group of 42 individuals assigned to the 169th CAMS, the last but not least group of individuals who were deployed during the Desert Shield/Storm Call-Up. The rank is what they were at the time of deployment, and any other pertinent information I have such as their rank at the time of their retirement, or if they were discharged, transferred, or passed away. They are as follows:

-Master Sgt. Richard H. Wallace retired in 2007 as a Senior Master Sgt.  He is still living.

-Airman Tracy L. Waller transferred to Luke AFB in the Air Force Reserves.

- Airman 1st Class Billy P. Ward. I have no information about him.

-Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Ward retired in 2004 medically as a Master Sgt. I remember Danny being involved with Caughman Road Baseball.  I don’t know if he is still living or not. He was Lead Crew Chief on Plane #291. 

-Tech. Sgt. Wallace Barry Ward also retired in 2004 as a Master Sgt. Barry was a neighbor of mine when I lived in Hunting Cree. I came home from work one day and his house was on fire from a lightning strike. He passed away in 2009. He was Lead Crew Chief on plane #294. I thought he and Danny were brothers but there was no mention of them being brothers in the Squadron Operations Report.

-Tech. Sgt. Arthur Waring, III. At this time I have no information about him.

-Master Sgt.  Herman E. Warren retired in 2000 as a Master Sgt. We don’t know if he is living or not.

-Tech. Sgt. Gibson D. Waters, Jr. retired in 1998 as a Master Sgt. We don’t know if he is living or not.

-Staff Sgt. Jonathan T. Waters retired in 2007 as a Master Sgt. We don’t know if he is living or not.

-Staff Sgt. Robert Watkins, Jr. retired in 2009 as a Master Sgt. We don’t know if he is living or not.

-Staff Sgt. James R. Watterson, Jr. retired in 2006 as a Master Sgt. Both he and his brother served as Assistant Crew Chiefs during Desert Storm. We don’t know if he is living or not.

-Sgt. William F. Watterson retired in 2008 as a Master Sgt. We don’t know if he is living or not.

-Sgt. John O. Weans transferred in 1993 to the Air Reserve Personnel Center.

-Staff Sgt. Daniel P. Weathersby retired in 2018 as a Master Sgt. As far as we know he is still living.

-Staff Sgt. David B. Welsh. In 2008 he was commissioned in the SCARNG.

-Staff Sgt. Allen M. White was commissioned in 1992 and retired in 2015 as a Lt. Col. and is still living.

-Staff Sgt. Johnnie L. White retired in 2003. I’m not sure his rank at retirement, adding him to the 2003 Retirees.

-Staff Sgt. Robert B. White, Jr. retired in 2015 as a Senior Master Sgt. He is still living.

-Staff Sgt. Troy P. White died I believe in a plane crash in 2004.

-Staff Sgt. Rita J. Whitmire retired in 2018 as a Colonel. She also was an All American Basketball player for U of SC. and is still living.

-Staff Sgt. John F. Whittemore, he retired in 1992 as Staff Sgt., we don’t know if he is still living or not?

-Tech. Sgt. Bruce A. Wiles retired in 2013 as a Master Sgt. I believe to be still living.

-1st Lt.  Leroy Williams, he retired in 2007, retiring as a Lt. Col. He originally was with the 240th Combat Comm. Squadron. In 1986 he was commissioned and became a Maintenance Officer. During Desert Storm he was the OIC of Field Maintenance. He passed away March 19, 2019 with cancer. He worked at the Savannah River Project, and was brother to Joe and Willie Williams both retiring from SCANG and another brother retiring from SCARNG.

-Tech. Sgt. Linda J. Williams. At this time I have no information about her.

-Tech. Sgt. Mac L. Williams retired in 1997 as a Master Sgt. He recently passed away August 26, 202. He was from Lancaster and an Avionics guy.

-Staff Sgt. Timothy D. Williams retired in 2003 as a Master Sgt. I’m not sure if he is living or not.

-Master Sgt. William “Buck” G. Williams retired in 2001 as a Senior Master Sgt. He is still living. He was a weapons loader. 

-Tech. Sgt. Gregory C. Williamson retired in 1992 as a Tech. Sgt. At this time we don’t know if he is still living or not.

-Airman Ashley B. Wilson was discharged in 1992. She enlisted in 1989.

-Senior Master Sgt. David K. Wilson retired in 1997. I’m not sure about his rank and not sure if he is still living or not.

-Staff Sgt. Douglas M. Wilson was discharged in 1998.

-Staff Sgt. Robert E. Windhorn, Jr. retired in 2002 as a Tech. Sgt. He passed away August 31, 2018 at the VA Hospital. His dad was a Berlin Call-Up. He was a weapons loader.

-Master Sgt. Terry D. Wingard retired in 2009 as a Chief Master Sgt. and the 3rd Wing Command Chief. Terry was everyone’s buddy and dear friend. He passed away May 10, 2015 at MUSC.

-Sgt. Gregory N. Wingate transferred to the ARPC.

-Tech. Sgt. Fred W. Woodard (Woody) retired in 2002 as a Master Sgt. He was a Bomb Dump guy and is still living.

-Staff Sgt. Robert L. Woodard, Jr. retired in 2002. I’m not sure about his rank at retirement or if he is still living.

-Sgt. Howard S. Worrell was discharged in 1993.

-Staff Sgt. Lester N. Worthy, he retired in 2015 medically.

-Senior Master Sgt. Sgt. John B. Wrenn retired in 1994 as a Chief Master Sgt. I’m not sure if he is still living.

-Airman Robert L. Wright, Jr. is still active and works now in Operations. He is a Chief Master Sgt. and on the Chiefs Council and handles our Monument with granite blocks and engravings.

-Tech. Sgt. Alvis G. Yonce retired in 1995. I’m not sure if he is still living or not.

-Tech. Sgt. Gerald S. Young retired in 1999 as a Tech. Sgt. He was part of the AGE crew. I’m not sure if he is still living.

Correction:  Several articles ago, I stated I had no information on Staff Sgt. Chris A. Smoak. At that time I didn’t until he got in touch with me. He retired April 2020, not sure what rank. Anyway he has come to some of our Luncheons recently, neat guy!

Statistics for this article, we have 30 people from this group of 42 that retired. One is still an active member and the other 11 were either discharged or transferred out of CAMS. The known 30 people to have retired represents 71.4 percent featured in this article. The breakdown of the 30 people to retire in this article by rank are one Col., two Lt. Cols. two Chief Master Sgt., four Senior Master Sgt., 17 Master Sgts., three Tech. Sgts.  and one Staff Sgt. The running total of all the 606 folks honored thus far for deploying to Desert Storm, 407 have become Retirees which represents 66.2 percent of the total of deployed people. The breakdown of the 407 Retired folks is as follows:  Two Maj. Gens., six Brig. Gens., 14 Cols., 18 Lt. Cols., eight Majs., 66 Chief Master Sgts., 65 Senior Master Sgts., 161 Master Sgts., 58 Tech. Sgts., eight Staff Sgts. and one Senior Airman for a total of 407 Retired members to date.

Other deployments and significant happenings during the Month of January:

January 1957, first ‘Runway’ Alert performed by SCANG

January 1960, first ANG pilot to check out in Mach 2 aircraft (Brig. Gen. Barnie McEntire F-104)

January 1996-April 1997, Operation Joint Endeaver, Tasz’ar Air Base, Hungary, 33 members of the 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron.

January 2000, Operation Northern Watch, units of the 169th Fighter Wing, the 240th Combat Communication Squadron, and the 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron.