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June Retiree's Corner

U.S. Air Force retired Master Sgt. Bob Barkalow, writer of the Retiree’s Corner article for the SCANG eNewsletter, and Jean Barkalow, his wife, at the monthly retiree luncheon at the NCO Club on Fort Jackson March 1, 2016. The luncheon is held on the first Tuesday of every month and allows retirees to hear about what’s happening at McEntire from active commanders. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Megan Floyd)

U.S. Air Force retired Master Sgt. Bob Barkalow, writer of the Retiree’s Corner article for the SCANG eNewsletter, and Jean Barkalow, his wife, at the monthly retiree luncheon at the NCO Club on Fort Jackson March 1, 2016. The luncheon is held on the first Tuesday of every month and allows retirees to hear about what’s happening at McEntire from active commanders. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Megan Floyd)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- A bit of a different Luncheon for our May get together. One we had our Luncheon in Ballroom #2, we had never been there before, but it was OK after the initial shock wore off. Secondly, our featured McEntire speaker did not show, he got tied up with meetings and time slipped by.  And we had some first timers, which I always enjoy seeing new faces coming out to our Luncheon function. Tod Spaeth, a 2010 CE Retiree, and Inez Benjamin, a 1992 Retiree. The fun part was I was supposed to guess who she (Inez) was, I hadn't seen Inez in over 30 years, naturally I failed at my expense, but it was all in fun. See what you can get when you come to our Luncheons, sometimes we have surprises, planned or not planned, again all in fun and in good spirit.

We had several people who both came to talk to us, or wanted to talk to us, so that filled the featured speaker void. Lt. Col. Jim St. Clair, representing TAG and Family Support, filled us in on many details about McEntire and what all the National Guard can provide us, all over the state now. As Retirees, we are fortunate to have so many good programs to help and assist us. Don Leister spoke about the pending EANGUS Convention, and Danny Sightler told us about a new project they wanted to do at the SC Military Museum, and that is to build a display case for the Moon Suit worn by Stan Hood, Danny also appealed for some money. You had to be there to see what happened, I volunteered a $100 from the Retirees Fund, and it was approved by the participating members, and we would fund raise some money at the Luncheon to get them started with the project.   We raised $400 cash, and along with the donated $100 from the Retirees Account, turned out to be all the money needed to complete the Moon Suit project. I was surprised and proud of the attending folks, and so was Danny Sightler. 

McEntire History:  About a year ago from the time I am writing this article, two of my best Air Guard buddies died, and I remember feeling somewhat down emotionally.  Terry Wingard, who was everyone's best bud, never met anyone quite like him, and Winfred "Midget" Williams whom I shared a lot of watch time with him during Desert Storm, a lot of people may not have known Midget, but he was a great guy, and he knew his work and communications. They died about three days a part, both at MUSC, very ironic. It bothers me when any of our folks pass away, even though I may not know them at all, know of them, know them as acquaintances, or knew them as squadron work members and friends.   We were all part of an organization that we can all be proud of, because we all helped make it that way. Whether our contribution was small or big, we were a part of it. That is why we can tell people with pride we were part of the South Carolina Air National Guard.

I will continue honoring the Korean War call up guys. These folks were all assigned to the 157th Fighter Squadron (SE), they are as follows:  Sergeant's Wilse W. Martin, Leonard S. Malkicwicz, Benjamin T. Peters, Lacy V. Poe, John T. Powell, Thomas T. Rivers, Thomas G. Rykard, William Harold Simmons, Eldon C. Ward, Robert E. Whittle, Harry E. Wright, Francis E. Young, James H. Young Jr.  Corporal's Lamar P. Brown, Marion D. Clark, Noah D. Derrick, James C. Hatchell, Sr., and Robert D. Kaminer.  Some of the names are easily recognizable. 

The only major deployment beginning during the month of June was Operation Iraqi Freedom for a 120 day deployment to Balad, Iraq, which was not that far from Iran.  This deployment was towards the end of the war, and there was not much going on. I don't believe we fired a shot in anger, bottom line it was a hot and boring deployment. Nobody could leave the 'compound', yet at times the bad guys would fire rockets into the compound trying to hit planes to no avail, so occasionally there was some excitement?   I am positive back in the 'old days', there were many 'summer camps' that was participated during the month of June.

Next month, our Luncheon date is 7 June, at our old haunt, the Fort Jackson NCO Club beginning at 1200.  Please come if you can, and talk it up with your ole buddies to see if you can encourage them to come. We love having our core folks to show as well as the occasional crowd, and best of all some new blood, so help me beat the bushes. See you in June.