By Robert (Bob) W. Barkalow Jr., Master Sgt. (Retired)
/ Published September 08, 2015
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- We had right at 50 folks to show up. Normal amount, but these were 'special' people. Reason being, we had an active young lady member who suddenly died, she was 37 years of age, leaving a husband and three small children. After thinking about it, it was time for our Quarterly Raffle, and some of us thought it would be good if we could donate any monies collected to her family. Let me tell you our Retirees picked their pockets and donated a total of $456.00 combined to this young ladies fund set up by her Chief, Lanny Cobb. Needless to say, I was so proud of the folks who did this. We had a number of passings this past month, Chaplain Jerry Hammet, the active member, Tiffany Dawn Kawena Glossmeyer Mellott and Melburn L. Oswald (Chunk). All close to the same timeframe. Some of us went to Chief Whitey Hewitt's 'inurnment'. Whitey died about two years ago. Many of us wore his favorite 'accessory', suspenders, to the service. We had Col. Keith Miller, the 169th Operations Group commander, visit with us for our Luncheon, and update us about all the McEntire activities. Interesting enough he was an Air Force Academy graduate, we now have several of them at the base, many in top positions of authority.
McEntire/Congaree History: When Congaree Air Base was formed back in December, 1946, the first type of airplane assigned to the base was the AT-6 Texan. The first SCANG member was Robert H. Morrell, and the first organizations were the 157th Fighter Squadron, the 157th Weather Squadron, the Utility Flight, 157th Fighter Squadron (primarily for target tows), and the Detachment "B" 216th Air Service Squadron (SE), I think this meant 'Single Engine', if I find something else later I stand corrected. There were several sizeable deployments during the month of September, and that was the first deployment to Norway (Coronet Aim), in 1980. Also the 240th made their first Turkey Deployment as part of the Rapid Deployment Force for Display Determination. In addition to that deployment, there was a subsequent deployment the following year, 1981, to Andravida Air Base, Greece, again as part of the RDF. I was fortunate enough to do both of the RDF deployments. We learned a lot, and saw a lot!
We are now honoring the 2014 Retirees, and this will be the last year that we honor the Retirees for a while. It has come to a point that I am like the dog who finally caught the tire they were chasing, now what do I do with it? Don't you worry, I'll come up with more lists for you. Anyway, the first group of the 2014, and its 44, Retirees begins with; Brig. Gen. Calvin Elam; Col. Michael Manning; Lt. Cols. Benjamin Lovejoy, Stephen Allen, and Louis Foley Jr.; Chief Master Sgts. Larry Crowson and Robert Davis; Master Sgts. Shawn Blair, Sean Roche, Paul Wallace, Earl Scoggins Jr., Kenneth Fowler and Brian Schart; Tech. Sgts. Joseph Carney and Cathy Graham. Might I suggest, if you run across these folks and other 'recent' retirees, tell them about us, and our Luncheons and our circle of information (Address Book).
Our next Luncheon is a bit different, it is normally the day after Labor Day, not this time! The Luncheon is of course the first Tuesday, which is September 1, neat and different. As per usual, we will have the Luncheon at the Fort Jackson NCO Club beginning at 12:00. As of this time, we will have another Concealed Weapons Permit Class held by Julie P. Jernigan. This will entail the state of Utah certification, and for those of us who took the South Carolina CWP last month combined with the Utah license, you will be covered for CWP in the majority of our States. At this time, North Carolina and Georgia does not honor South Carolina CWP. I will send out more information concerning this later before our next Luncheon. The CWP Class will be held after our Luncheon approximately in the 1:30 timeframe. So I hope to see many of you at both our Luncheon and CWP Class.