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April Retiree's Corner

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- We had an average attendance of around 55 folks for our March Luncheon. We were wowed by Col. Mike Metzler telling us initially the many details about the Maintenance Group and later he got into details about the base in general. We are fully informed. We also introduced the new State Command Chief, Robert 'Dean' Widener to the retirees. A good meeting for all, and there is no reason we can't duplicate it next month and the following months.

March is traditionally Women's History Month. I should have appealed to all of our many women retirees to make a special effort to come but I didn't. So why don't we do this for our April Luncheon? We can and we will. I said I was going to appeal to our women retirees soon.   But my main appeal is to 'ALL' retirees, please come and see us.

McEntire History:  We would like to honor and recognize the 2012 retirees. There were only 30 of them, which is a little low compared to the previous years. So I will do them in two different sessions. The first group consists of: Brig. Gen. Grady L. Patterson III, Lt. Col. Franklin 'Sandy' Gibson, Chief Master Sgts. Clifton Weir and Mark Morrell, Master Sgts. Deloris Weaver, Leonard Cyprus, Brian Fowler, Douglas Striff, Philip Grady, John Bennett, and Allie E. Bacon V, Tech. Sgts. Brandon McKimmery, James Hutto III, Mason Brooks, and Shunjie Colten. A fine group, if anybody knows them please invite them to our Luncheons or include them in our address book. 

April was an eventful month for Congaree/McEntire History. The 240th stood up on April 18, 1952, initially as two flights: the 240th Mobile Communications and the 240th Flight Facilities Flight, but overall was known as the 240th Airways and Air Communications Service. It started out with 36 enlisted and two officers. Over time the 240th grew in size and duties and became one of the premier communications units in the Air Force arsenal. The 240th stood down March 31, 2008, after almost 56 years of service. By the way, the 240th is having a reunion May 16, 2015. Anybody who was physically in the 240th has been invited. If by chance you have not received an invite, please let me know, you are an invitee.

In April of 2001, the 169th deployed a force of 225 folks and went back to Saudi Arabia to enforce Operation Southern Watch. But this time there were barracks and not tents...that had to be 'no fun'? Also, in April 2012, there were about 500 people, some of those rotated, during a four-month deployment to Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan. Still a part of Operation Enduring Freedom that started in October 2001, and still on-going although at a much downgraded pace.

The 240th deployed in April of 1982 to Leck, Germany for Crested Cap I 82. There were a total of 54 troops deployed for about two or three months. There was another deployment in April 1982 for Distant Drum 82 to Eskisehir, Turkey. Another 'garden spot' with a total of 55 troops, this one I was on and it lasted about six weeks. Lastly, the 240th had another deployment in April 1984 for Ocean Venture 84, to Borinquen, Puerto Rico, with a total of around 87 people. Most of these deployments were manned by rotational groups. The 240th deployed a lot during the 80's since we were part of the Rapid Deployment Force. 

Okay lady retirees, this is your month to make an effort to show at our Luncheon, so talk to your fellow lady retirees, or any retiree, and urge them to come. I may have a 'surprise' for you, not sure what just yet. No not the Chippendales, just come and see. The Luncheon will be on April 7, beginning around noon, but I encourage people to come a bit early to chit-chat with their fellow retirees. The fee for the Luncheon is $10.00, which includes a tip. If anyone needs to get in touch with me, my phone # is 803 936-0680, or email is rbarkalow@sc.rr.com.