March Retiree Corner
By Bob Barkalow Jr., Master Sgt. (Retired)
/ Published February 27, 2013
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- We reverted back to a 'smallish' crowd for our February breakfast, where only around 40 folks showed up. Bob Beers, who went to Spain during the Berlin Crisis call-up, was our guest. He also spearheads a Berlin Crisis group which meets monthly at Lizards Thicket in Irmo. The other guest was my brother, Greg, who retired from the Army Guard as a tank commander with the 1/263rd Armor located in the Pee Dee area. Our only official first-timer was Tim Treaster.
There had been some discussion lately concerning a 'fact sheet' that serves the retired military family about what needs to be done once the former member gets the 'final calling'. Treaster was responsible for putting out a nice one page fact sheet some time ago for this purpose, but it now needs to be updated. The entire Guard probably could use this. We also discussed this issue at the Fort Jackson Retirees Council, as well. The DD-214 is the key to many things for us retired guys, so be sure your spouse or family knows where it is! An example of all this is that we have had four folks who passed away already this year.
We did have our raffle, even though our 'raffle worker bees' (Doris Luellen and Jean Barkalow) were not present. Robert Age was the winner of our coveted raffle, but actually we are all winners! Lt. Col. Rita Whitmire introduced herself to the group, and shared her duties at McEntire, as well as the duties she will be responsible for at Andrews AFB for the next two years. It was an honor and pleasure to have her visit with us. We don't normally sing Happy Birthday songs, but we did for General Hood, who had a birthday February 5th. I believe Harold Simmons birthday is on the same day and year. Is this one of life's coincidences?
McEntire History: We are still celebrating the last of the enlarged 2003 group of retirees. They are Colonels Robert Smart and Dick Noble, Chief Master Sgt. Wilford Watford Jr., Senior Master Sgts. Terry Jagers, Craig Davis, and Ed Sutton. Master Sgts. Sumpter Burgess, Ronald Billie (recently passed away), Jeffrey Hanson, Doris Wilkes-Piucci, Prentis Percells, Benjamin Lewter, Curtis Peacock, James Robinson, Terry Myers, Gloria Meeks, Curtis Faust, and Tech. Sgt. Charles Caldwell.
In March 2003, there was a call-up of around 400 members for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unit responded by deploying to Qatar to support the war in Iraq. During that same month in 2008, the sad occurrence of the "stand down" of the 240th Combat Communication Squadron also occurred. Their last commander was Lt. Col. Gene Brislin.
The question is asked, when are we going back to the NCO Club? This is the raging question, and the answer is probably around the May/June timeframe. Perhaps this will shake out more people to come see us? Anyway, please mark your calendars for the March 5th breakfast with the best retirees in the Air Guard nation. As always, we will be kicking the breakfast off about 0830 at the Fort Jackson Officers Club. I hope to see many of you there.