By Robert (Bob) Barkalow, Jr., Master Sgt. (Retired)
/ Published October 24, 2014
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- We had a great crowd, notice I didn't say this time a 'good crowd' because we had around 60 folks to show, hence 'great'. The Adjutant General's wife, Barbara Livingston, and several other guests joined us to inform us about Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). They made an appeal to our folks to volunteer to go out to different units, different services, Guard or Reserve, and brief them on their rights and what they need to know. Lt. Col. Paul Laymon was our McEntire representative this time, he is the Security Forces commander, and he did an outstanding job briefing us.
We also voted to send the Adjutant General a donation to help relieve his campaign loan, which I did. I really enjoyed the crowd we had this time, they were involved and a lot of fellowship was experienced. We had a first timer join us last month, Terri Lever.
McEntire History: The last group of 2010 retirees is as follows: Lt. Cols. Charles Wesley, and Magda Thomas. Chief Master Sgts. Birl Wiggins III and Susan (Susie) Naylor. Senior Master Sgts. Donald Freeman, Dennis Lewis, Alexander Williams, Floyd Thomas, and Terri Lever. Master Sgts. Danny Glover, Michael Tempero, Phillip Wilson, and Toni Lee-Harris. Tech Sgts. Danny Brooks, and Robert Eddy. That's a lot of rank and tenure gone from this group.
I have to get this story off of my chest, I, and others were 'terrorists' at the base. Some of you may remember this probably about mid to late 1980s. Somehow somebody thought it would be a good idea to test the base's security, so many of us in the 240th volunteered to be terrorists since there were no exercises or deployments going on. One of our masterminds to terrorist activities was an Air Force Air Control Advisor, Wayne Conroy, a really good guy. He was instrumental in acquiring a helicopter from SCARNG, and away we went. This took place over several drills, and I have to admit I enjoyed this 'role play'. There must have been around 20-25 of us overall creating havoc all over the base. We swarmed into Munitions when the gates were open and we took over the Air Control Tower. Myself, and another guy, were snipers on top of the tower. We were armed with a couple of M16s and blanks. So just like the old cowboy movies we would shoot people and tell them they were dead. I believe we were so effective and realistic that some of the hierarchy was upset with our realism. Later we acquired a helicopter, landed, and stormed Resources Management requiring everyone to get down in the building. Later, I was assigned to the road leading to munitions to grenade anyone coming up the road. I did, it was Larry Crowson in his Bobtail. I told him he was dead, both he and I didn't know what that meant, so he went on about his business. Later after some 'consultation' we moderated our activities, and I came up with the idea to hold a 'call for prayer' down by the old warehouses that satisfied the Security Forces for a while. That afternoon we were still raising havoc, and finally surrendered to them back behind the old 240th Building. Actually I was out of clips. I can remember their jeep with their .50 caliber mounted sprinting across the field blazing away. Now that was fun! It was all in good spirit and training of course. So my life as a terrorist ended. At the last luncheon I asked Lt. Col. Laymon if he needed an old terrorist to help train his troops. He said he would 'think' about it.
In October and November we had a lot of Call-Ups, they are as follows:
October 10, 1950: Korean War Call-Up, the entire base went to Lawson Field, Fort Benning, Ga. for 21 months. Now that was a call-up.
October 9/November 1, 1961: A total of 747 men were called up for about seven months or so, most went to Moron, Spain, and some went to France and a few stayed Stateside.
November 27, 1990: Operation Desert Shield with a total of 727 folks being called up, some sooner than others, and people were able to return at different times, some may have served around three months, while others, including me, stayed over six months.
November 1951: The 110th AC&W Squadron was deployed to both Greenville, Donaldson AFB, and then later to Germany staying from 9-12 months. The unit was stood down, and many folks were absorbed into the Fighter Squadron later.
We have a situation that happens every two years, voting. So our next luncheon falls on November 4. I asked the NCO Club if we could do the 11th, Veterans Day, and they said they were closed. Therefore, may I recommend you vote mid-morning, or after our luncheon, which is what I plan to do. Either mid-morning or mid-afternoon is the best time to go vote, crowd wise. We need you to vote, and we need you to come to our luncheon because we are going to have a raffle to augment our somewhat depleted treasury. So come if you can, we will have a good time. As always it will be at the Fort Jackson NCO Club beginning at noon on November 4.