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May 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. -- We have been averaging between 60-65 persons the past several months at the Retiree's Luncheon.  The NCO Club are slow learners. They set up for about 45-48 people and then have to scramble setting up at least two more tables to accommodate the extra folks. I love it. The reason being is it gives everyone more time to visit with each other so there is a plus in all this, so I don't really fuss too much. The April Luncheon brought us Lt. Col. Ian Toogood, the first time that many of us ever met him. He is also an Air Force Academy graduate, and right now he heads up the Air Defense mission at the base. He told us he was part of Red Flag that took place recently, neat guy, we all got to know him.

McEntire History: As you know I have been honoring the Korean Call-Up guys beginning this year. It will take a while, many names you will recognize, others you won't. The group this month consists of the following people who were assigned to the 157th Fighter Squadron (SE). They are as follows: Staff Sgts. William E. Russ, John H. Schilling, Robert A. Smith, Clemence D. Turbeville, Clarence H. Varnadore, William W. Watson Jr., Artis E. Welch (later the last WO at McEntire), Samuel J. Wessinger, and Samuel L. Youngblood. Sgts. Leonard D. Beckham, Robert Branham, William A. Brown Jr., Jinks W. Clary, Jewel T. Cobb Jr., Clarence O. Flagler, James L. Hare, William H. Huffstetler and Claude W. Lott.

The month of May evidently is one of the 'quieter' months as far as deployments. However, I did scrape several deployments up, and the first one was Coronet Cove which was sending a flight of A-7's to Panama beginning back in 1979. Also in May 1983, the 240th deployed to Eglin Air Force Base as the first Combat Communications Squadron to deploy and undergo an Operational Readiness Inspection. I remember it well, we were out there close to the Rangers' swamp training area located at Field 6, Camp Rudder. The Rangers had night-vision goggles and would crawl up and chalk our vans. I had the night watch in our radio tent, and would periodically walk outside so they wouldn't do it to our tent, it worked, and they never did. After the ORI we went over to their canteen and drank beer and shared some stories with them. The Green brothers, Jerry and Allan, spearheaded all that since they were both prior Army. I also remember TAG, T. Eston Marchant and Col. Tom McLean visiting us and showing off his snake handling abilities.

Next month, back to Fort Jackson NCO Club on May 3, let's keep up the good attendance for our Luncheons. There will be a lot of activities during the month of May, which will be Family Day at the base and also Retirees Appreciation at the Fort, which is an annual event. I will put out more information about these events as it gets closer to the dates. So mark May 3 on your calendar for the next Luncheon beginning at noon at the Ft. Jackson NCO Club. Retirees are welcome at all events, so take advantage of all these activities if you wish.