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December Retiree Corner

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- We had our usual 45-50 folks for the November Breakfast, based on the weather and elections, it wasn't too bad. We had one first timer, Bob Lee. The highlight of the Breakfast was our speaker, Lt. Col. Scott "Cleetus" Bridgers, he told us some "war stories" from the Afghanistan deployment, and we appreciated this, which made me feel I was sitting in the cockpit. What struck me about this, in this day and time with our newer technologies, how our pilot is much more than just being a pilot, he is a manager, or multi-tasker of many details.

I really don't know how they do it all as a one person team? As much as is going on, one would think it would require more than just one crewman per plane. They have to be concerned about air space, fuel, civilian casualties, encrypting messages, watching live video streams, broadcasting live video streams, lasering bombs, show of force (low passes to scare the bad guys), drones and helicopters and where they are at, working with international forces and understanding them, working with JTAC's (Joint Terminal Aircraft Controllers) at the different forward operating bases, etc., and by the way, fly the plane. All I can say is my hat is off to them, and bless them that we have people who can do all this.

Also, I discussed at this Breakfast the demise of the printed SCANG News, and by doing this I extrapolated some numbers (actually I am writing this about election time?). So far I/we have identified about 1200 of us retirees, of which I have confirmed 138 of us retirees passing on, however, I doubt if we know how many others of us that have died. At this time, we have 222 of us signed on to the SCANG Retirees address book, so based on these numbers that leaves about 575 folks that may not get the printed SCANG News letter anymore. The 222 of us or so can have access to the SCANG News electronically, or at least my article through me. So to anybody out there who is not on the SCANG Retirees Address book, please sign up with us by contacting me at rbarkalow@sc.rr.com, or calling me at (803) 936-0680.

McEntire History: Lest we not forget, but SCANG has a birthday come December 9th, it will be 66 years old. Fifty of our predecessors met, 14 officers and 36 enlisted met up to form the S.C. Air National Guard, with Barnie McEntire being selected by the TAG (Gen. Dozier) to lead the newly formed unit. All the folks mustering were WWII Vets.

Now we are moving to the year 2003 to honor those retirees, the first batch of 72 (72?), this is indeed a record setting year for retiring. I am not sure if this is just a coincidence, or there was a budgetary/political reason for this like the mid 90's? The retirees are as follows: Capt. Clarence Darby; Chief Master Sgts. Howard Pees, Robert Hutto, and Thomas Muller; Senior Master Sgts. James Christopher, Frank Love, and Martin Gladden; Master Sgts. Carl Smith, Ferrell D. (Doug) Horton Jr., Daniel Corley, William Harper, Mary S. Irving, Stephen Tessier, Thomas Bulman (my roomate on the Love Boat during Desert Storm), Morris Chermell, Charity Singleton, Wilbur Tanner, and Timothy Williams.

We will be having a Luncheon for our December get together, actually it is December 4th, I don't have a speaker just yet, but I will figure something out? So let's meet at 1200 (High Noon) that day at the Fort Jackson Officers Club. The fee is $9.50, I believe, for the Luncheon. This is a good opportunity for those of you who don't like to do the Breakfasts, or can't because of driving distance, to come see us and the people you worked with at SCANG in your past.

I am looking for a sizeable crowd, so don't embarrass me, please. It seems strange but the holidays are upon us, as I get older I have a harder time adjusting to them, not sure why, maybe it's just me. If ever you don't see your name some time or other as a retiree, contact me and let me know so we can 'catch up' with you. I hope to see you at the Luncheon.