January Retiree's Corner
By Robert (Bob) W. Barkalow, Jr., Master Sgt. (Retired)
/ Published December 30, 2014
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- We had our normal complement of attendees between 50-55 folks, this time no first timers. Maj. Brian Doyle, the 169th Maintenance Operations Flight commander, did a great job updating the goings on out at the base. He also gave us some scoop about the latest mini deployment out West, working with the Navy guys. I think Maj. Doyle is now tied with Cleetus coming to visit with us, three times. My impression is they seem to enjoy doing this and that is great. We enjoy having them or different folks from the base come by and mingle with us. The NCO Club has been doing a great job with a variety of food and theme decorating, and because of this I must say it is well worth the $10 fee to come by once a month and enjoy the food and fellowship.
McEntire History: I didn't honor the 2011 retirees last month because I went off on a tangent about the old days and Desert Storm days. There have been no complaints about this, fortunately. So I will go back to my routine of honoring the first group of 2011 retirees. There are a known total of 45 retirees. I usually break them up into three groups for reporting purposes. Chief Master Sgts. Larry Amick, Ronald Bryant, Aubrey Carde and Mike Hale. Master Sgts. David Dabney, Daniel Kaylor, James Rooney, John Giannetto, Jacob Eargle, Jody Crabtree, Edward Earle and John Lever. Tech. Sgts. Stephanie Brooks, Michael Steele and Gregory Woods. I see the chiefs on occasion. If anyone knows the other folks, encourage them to come see us.
The only major deployment I see in January was the Operation Northern Watch deployment to Turkey in 1997. What is a bit unusual about this deployment is that the 169th and planes went along with the 240th for communications support and the 245th for air traffic control support. Also I want to mention there were a couple dozen security forces troops that went to Incirlik as well. Personally I think that is the way it should be, but no one from the Pentagon or Guard Bureau ever consults me on this. I just feel you have better overall and unit cohesion operating that way. It wasn't all work. There were some tours of Turkey and my son and others were able to visit the Cappadocia region, where Christians hid from the Mongol hordes many centuries ago. The 240th crew was able to visit that area back in 1980. There were extensive underground labyrinths that the Christians could shut down different passageways, quite fascinating. For the people who went on the ONW deployment, many may remember the Alley, and Mujdat's Café and Restaurant. I understand there were some good stories emanating from there.
As of the past few years, I have been having a short memorial service in January for those of us who passed on to the Wild Blue Yonder the previous year. This year I may extend this to others who passed on, sometimes years ago, and we never knew about them until recently. So I would like to encourage you to come visit with us to honor our fellow retirees who went away on us. This will be held at the Fort Jackson NCO Club on January 6th, beginning at 12:00. May I encourage many of you to a New Year's resolution, come visit us more!