By Bob Barkalow, Master Sgt. (Retired)
/ Published March 17, 2016
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C., -- We had an extremely effective March Luncheon, the main reason being is we had a very good crowd of about 60-65 folks show, as well as having Lt. Col. Shari Askins, former weapons loader, and now commander of the 169th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, talk to us. We also had her Chief of Maintenance, Dan Shelley, as well as a representative from Public Affairs, Megan Floyd. So we had a nice contingent from the base and after everyone warmed up, we all intermingled well. We also had monetarily a great raffle, we were running short on the Speaker Fund, as well as our Retirees balance has been on the 'lean' side for quite a while. Lately, I have noted our attendance count has drifted up, so keep up the good work and keep coming. We had some first timers, however, I can't remember all of them. Ollie Smith, George Batten, and I believe another one or two others. I'll try to do a better job in remembering our first-timers, hopefully. Thanks to Bill Burbage, we now have name tags, so we don't forget who we are?
McEntire History: McEntire had one significant deployment during the month of April 2012, and that was Operation Enduring Freedom that lasted about 120 days. The 400 or more people and planes were located at the air base in Kandahar. There were 2,194 Combat sorties flown, amounting to 9192.8 combat hours flown. There were 246 shows of force, in addition to 207 bombs dropped, plus expending 7,303 rounds of 20mm ammo. All this primarily during the summer months, hot, windy and a tough job for the maintainers. Everyone did well. While thumbing through some SCANG News, I ran across a small
deployment of five of our firefighters deploying to Bahrain for six months to help support U.S. Navy assets. My point in all this, and I wish I could address the many 'mini' deployments the active McEntire folks are doing, they are probably innumerable by now? I wish I could notate all these deployments, all I can say right now, I try to honor and remind folks of our larger deployments, but really hate to miss the many mini deployments, mostly the CE guys, Security Forces folks, and previously the 240th/245th people as well. I haven't forgot them! Speaking of the 240th, I have to do this every year, indulge me, my old unit, it was formed on April 18, 1952.
At that time, it was called the 240th Combat Information Services Squadron. It was formed up with 1st Lt. William Gunter as commander, and he had seven assigned personnel back then. About a year and half later, the flight was changed to the 240th Air and Airways Communications Flight Mobile. I can still see some stenciled fly-away kits with 240 AACS on the side of them. I know I had to pack many of them on our pallets.
This is the fourth round of Korean call-up folks, all assigned to the 157th Fighter Squadron (SE), they are; SSgt's Dennie L. Dillard, Jr. (I know the family), Donald P. Dozier, Charles P. Empett, Edward C. Faria (I worked at Mental Health with him), Robert H. Fowler, Jr., Wylie E. Galloway, Vincent W. George, Curtis H. Godwin, Brosig A. Harmon, Roy B. Holley, Lycurgus Jackson, Jr., Joseph W. Leech, Freddie R. Lewter, John V. Martin, Basil S. Norris, John T. Owen, and Earl S. Rabon and Barnie M. Rogers, Jr. Some of these names are our retirees, and their names are engraved on our Monument.
Next month our Luncheon will be held 5 April at our usual place the Fort Jackson NCO Club, and we begin at 1200. For the past couple of Luncheons, we have been slightly delayed due to the larger crowds, and it is always fun for our folks to wait for the additional table or tables to be added. The
reason is so they can talk more, which is why they come. The food and other festivities are just second place. So come 5 April, come talk to your old and new buddies. The worst case scenario is you have to listen to my announcements or rants about some things that just aren't right? Come see and find out.