October Retiree Corner
By Bob Barkalow Jr., Master Sgt. (Retired)
/ Published September 24, 2013
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- We only had 42 folks show for our September Breakfast, but I am so proud of those 42. I asked that they help donate up to $450 for the Monument at McEntire, thinking I might have to do this several months in a row. They contributed a total of $455.00, which went to the Retirees fund. Later on I transferred $900.00 to the Non-Commissioned Officers Academy Graduates Association fund to assist with the purchase of two more granite blocks to put more names since we are running out of space. The NCOAGA is getting quotes on two more granite blocks. This is due to the need to 'catch up' the last two years of names of those of us who have passed.
Another issue I have mentioned before. The NCO Club at Fort Jackson has declared they no longer can serve us breakfast for now, but they will be happy to provide us Luncheons. Therefore, we have one more breakfast, which is Oct. 1. Then I want you to help me decide what to do, whether it is to stay there for all Luncheons, or go somewhere else. I have looked into Brookland Baptist in West Columbia, and they can accommodate us for whatever we would like to do. There are pros and cons either way, and at the Oct. 1 Breakfast a decision will be made, either on a short term or long term basis. I would like to see a good turnout to help us decide what we want to do. I will discuss our options at the next breakfast.
McEntire History: We are honoring our 48 known retirees during the year 2006. I will do this in three increments. They are as follows: Col. Thorne Ambrose, Lt. Cols. Michael Budka and Miguel Bosch. Chief Master Sgts. Steven Hay, John Rush and James Webb. Senior Master Sgts. Timothy Bodie and Dennis Massey. Master Sgts. Ronald Gailliard, John Pope, Timothy Smith, Shannon Fleenor Jr., and Willie Durant. Tech. Sgts. Velma Holmes and Anna Komar, also, Staff Sgt. Crystal McLeod.
Speaking of numbers concerning our Monument at McEntire, we currently have 229 names displayed, which is through the year 2011. The NCOAGA is currently working on getting more granite blocks to add more names. As it stands currently, we have another 22 known names to add for those that have passed during the years 2012 and 2013. Based on my somewhat accurate records, we have now over 1200 people that have retired from Congaree/McEntire since 1963 to present. The reason it is sketchy is that I do not have all the folks retiring through the years 1987-1993 (the Missing Link Years), so I am estimating. Plus I am not 100 percent sure that we captured all that retired in the non 'missing link years'? This is one reason I am going back through the years to see if anybody finds dates that are not correct or missing. I realize this is a 'quirky' thing, but I can't help it. It is just my personality, so just bear with me? I would like to have a complete accounting of all the folks that retired from the base and all that pass on so I can pass this on as a historic legacy. So I will keep trying along with your kind assistance. I also have noted not everyone remembers accurately when they retired.
Based on what I wrote above, I again ask that we have a good attendance for our Oct. 1 Breakfast to help me decide what and where are we going for our Nov. 5 Breakfast or Luncheon and our Dec. 3 Luncheon. I could make a dictatorial decision, but I would prefer to have your input, a straw vote, as what the majority of you would like to have happen. I asked for some input a month or two ago, and got various inputs. Whatever I/we do, we may lose or gain some folks. That is just the way it is. So please come for perhaps our last Breakfast to help me decide what is best for the retirees who attend our Breakfast/Luncheons. The last Breakfast will be at the NCO Club at Fort Jackson, beginning at 8:30 a.m., Oct. 1.