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February Retiree Corner

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- Our January Breakfast produced about 60 folks showing up, by this it had the Officers Club staff scrambling for more tables, but they were able to take care of all attendees. Our first timers were Ed Fisher and retiring Chief Master Sgt. Debbie Marshall, she transitioned into the "Retiree Corps" quickly and efficiently? We had our annual Memorial Service which determined we had eleven known members leave us for a better place last year, both retired and active members of the SCANG. Four of these folks were active members of the Guard, which is a bit unusual.

Lt. Col. James Merriman, representing the Medical Squadron, did a fantastic job explaining what all he does, and what all the Medical guys do, which helps most of us attendees understand 'the big picture' better at the base. It makes me and others understand the importance of every job and task being done to accomplish getting the 'birds' in the air to fight and suppress. That's a thrilling sight to see those planes take off, and in my older emotional state, I admittedly get choked up when they do, as well as at certain events with flyovers. It is extremely emotional, especially at key football games, NASCAR races, parades, etc. I have observed grown men and women all tearing up from the sound and sight of freedom. I am not sure how I digressed to this from the Breakfast, oh well, I hope you understand my ramblings?

Also, usually in the month of January, I cite the new drill weekend pay rates for different people. My how all that has changed! As a guess, if still serving, my drill pay would be double from what it was when I retired in 1996.

McEntire History: The month of February brings back memories of the deployment to Qatar for the first time back in 2002. Approximately 200 folks went there to support the 'fledgling' Operation Enduring Freedom, which is still going on as we well know. Qatar was close to being a bare base operation at the time. The pilots had to have a rough go of supporting this operation since they had to fly all around Southwest Asia to avoid restricted air spaces to get to their destination. There were a lot of re-fuelings!

We are're-honoring' the 2003 retirees, if you recall, the largest crop of retirees ever (73, I found another one from last month). There are so many I have to take them in smaller increments. This month we have the following: Lt. Col. Scobey Suddreth. Chief Master Sgts. James Hatchell Jr., William R. Merton Jr., Robert Morrell, Gary Dugger, and David Irving. Senior Master Sgts. Joseph Gilbert, Daniel Svoboda, Curtis Mack, and Michael Reeves. Master Sgts. Burton (Buddy) McDaniels, Prentiss McLaurin, Nathaniel Myers, Tony Matthews Jr., Kenneth Reposa, Sandy Simpson, Robert J. Inman, Teresa O. Wilson, and Tech. Sgt. Lincoln Jacobs.

Our treasury consists of $1,095.66 in the S.C. National Guard Federal Credit Union as of January 1, 2013. In addition to that, I have a total of $35.50 in my Speaker/Petty Cash Fund to pay primarily for meals for our Speaker/ Guests. I mentioned to the folks at the January Breakfast that we need to have our Quarterly, or so, 50-50 raffle to augment my Petty Cash fund. After my plea for someone to buy the one remaining Retirees jacket that I have been holding on to for over a year, it was bought by Chief Mary Jones. She bought my sob story and the jacket, and helped out my plight of augmenting the Speaker Fund. But I plan to still hold the 50-50 raffle to keep my word. This also means Whitey Hewitt will fix us up one of his famed wooden bowls as a raffle prize?

I heard through a good source at the Fort Jackson Retirees Council that we may be able to get back in to the refurbished NCO Club by this April or May meeting. I say June, but who's counting, I am beginning to get used to the Officers Club. So come February 5th, we will plan to have our next Breakfast at the Officers Club, as always beginning at 0830. I am looking forward to another nice turnout, and our raffle, see you then.

If ever you need to contact me my home phone number is 803 936-0680, and my email is rbarkalow@sc.rr.com. I trust we all are adapting to the new SCANG News.