May Retiree's Corner
By Robert (Bob) W. Barkalow Jr., Master Sgt. (Retired)
/ Published April 23, 2014
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- Unfortunately, we only had about 40 people at our April Fool's Luncheon, and the weather was nice? Am I going to play the 'guilt' card, you bet. I had higher expectations and I have to tell you the folks that came were glad they came to this Luncheon. Lt. Col. Stewart was exemplary in discussing some McEntire topics with us. Anyway, I beat the bushes to conjure up more people to attend from time to time. Some folks tell me they have medical appointments, but there are options as to time and dates making medical appointments. I know this because I practice this. If it interferes with my golf or Luncheons, I don't do it.
In the meantime, we had a deployment come back, and Jean and I made the effort to meet them, as those of you that are aware of this on the 'Retirees email address book. My son and others have told me that every time they make a pit stop in Bangor, Maine. They are greeted by older veterans who make the effort to meet and greet all returning deployers coming through that airport facility, and they are so sincere and respectful to our military folks. I think this is a great touch and effort by these people to do this, no matter what time of the day it is. I am making a point here. I would like to have more Luncheon mates.
McEntire History: We are honoring our 2008 Retirees and this is the middle element of this group of 46. They are as follows: Col.'s Stanley V. Hood, Jr. and John Caver, Chief Master Sgt.'s Frank Fields and Tanda Fleming, Senior MasterSgt.'s Matthew McClam and Albert Boles, Master Sgt.'s Sandra Strickland, Russell Welchel, Herbert Schillinger, General Baker and Gary Styles, Tech. Sgt.'s Christine Woodworth, Jerome Robinson, Claire Jones and Brett Railing.
For some reason there were not a whole lot of things going in during the month of May historically. However there was a deployment that was monumental and that was the 240th deploying to Kyrgyzstan. Try spelling this without looking at how to do it! The deployment lasted for six months and they were the first ones in country permanently beginning in February 2002 to re-open this former Russian Airbase at Manas Air Base as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Lt. Col. Lorinda Keck led the 44 communications specialists and had 'fun' dealing with the locals, since women are not well regarded in that society in that neck of the woods or mountains in this case. The mountains are beautiful based on a PowerPoint show I saw from that deployment. Also our guys on the way to Afghanistan in 2012 stopped there to get their gear and said it was breathtaking view. Not exactly South Carolina, since you can see 10,000 feet plus mountains surrounding the airbase. What I am trying to do is make us aware of the many other deployments that are not labeled as our larger deployments. I will be glad to highlight the many other deployments by the Wing and the other ancillary units in the future.
Earlier I said there wasn't much going on in May, not true this coming up month. First we have the Family Fest come 3 May and that should be a lot of fun. We Retirees are invited as well. Next there is RAD (Retirees Appreciation Days) at Fort Jackson. So I urge you to take advantage of these activities. You earned it and should enjoy them. I will give out more details in our Retiree Address Book. Our next Luncheon is May 6th. It is the first Tuesday in May and as always, will be held at the Fort Jackson NCO Club beginning at 1200. Please come and you can make me feel like I am doing OK with this August group.