By Bob Barkalow Jr., Master Sgt. (Retired)
/ Published August 26, 2013
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- We had almost 50 attendees for our August Breakfast. No first timers, but we had some people we haven't seen in a while. I must say I need to honor our faithful, the core people, who show up faithfully at every one of our functions. There are too many to mention individually, but I want to thank them for making our functions work. Then we have the fringe folks who show only occasionally, who help make us work. Then there are the folks who might show about once a year, they help us to some extent. Then we have those who don't show for whatever reason. This is not to disparage them, they may have many reasons, some valid. They may not be able to make it due to travel distance, medical situations, and I just don't want to attend, I did my share? We are not biased about this. We are a free society to do as we please, although I sure would like to see them. So the bottom line is "come when you can". We love seeing whoever shows, whenever. This is the beauty of it all.
Now, things are changing at our meeting place, many of you who are on the Retirees Address Book are aware of this. For right now, I ask that you let me coordinate the new nuances coming down the pike due to Sequestration, or now the softening of it, etc. I can't give you any updates right now at this time of writing, because everything is so fluid? All I can tell you is we will have a Breakfast scheduled Sept. 3rd. It could be our last breakfast, or maybe not?
McEntire History: As of late, I have 'discovered' the Marines did not build Congaree Air Base, the Army Air Corps built it. They contracted with Mr. Barney Jordan, who is/was Cherokee Construction Company to begin the building and leveling of the runways, etc. The buildings that were built were probably on a temporary basis at that time. Mr. Jordan lived right off the base, and I believe he, or some of his family had to 'donate' (condemnation) some land for the building of Congaree Army Air Base. The air base was built, and subsequently the Marines came in with their F4U Corsairs the latter part of the WWII. Shortly after the war, the Navy Department shuttered the base. In the background, our Adjutant General then, James C. Dozier (Medal of Honor winner, WWI) had the foresight to select Barnie McEntire and Bob Morrell to lead the newly formed S.C. Air Guard, which as we all know formed up December 9, 1946 with 50 troops. Now something struck me the other day. We formed up before the Air Force was formed into a service in September 1947. Recently I have corresponded with one of our retirees, Tom Christmus, who as a small boy lived on McEntire with his dad and family in the late 40's. Then they had to go to Lawson Air Field, located on Fort Benning, Ga., for the Korean War call-up, and a call-up it was for 21 months. Not your average deployment now?
We would like to honor the remaining 2005 retirees, they are as follows: Chief Master Sgts. John Rockholz, Thomas Bryant, and Robert Mays. Senior Master Sgts. Joseph Jefferson (who played golf crosshanded?), Carland Allen, and Stephen Corley. Master Sgts. Henry Anderson III (Gary), Ralph Hutchins, James Peritt Jr., Jeffrey Schnegellberger, Richard Dulin, and John Eagerton. Tech. Sgts. Willis Clarkson II and Benjamin Manis. As always at the end of each year, I ask if those of you who retired in 2005 didn't see your name, let me know either by calling me at 803-936-0680 or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If anyone out there would like to join our Address Book, let me know, we are closing in on 300 folks. Probably 95% retirees and 5% interested parties.
What do we have to look forward to in the immediate future? As I alluded to above, standby, things may change with how we meet, when we meet, will it be Breakfasts or Luncheons, or both. My plan for 2014 was to have nine breakfasts, and three luncheons, since more people were leaning towards luncheons. There are so many variables right now I can't begin to address them, but hang in there with me, and I will do the best I can to have a viable monthly function for us all whenever or wherever. Right now our next Breakfast will be September 3rd, beginning at 0830 at the Fort Jackson NCO Club. Please come and see us. We discuss a variety of things, a lot about history and our fellow retirees. You can talk with your fellow retirees, which is paramount for most of these functions. Oh by the way, as a 'tease', I am working with Mary Young (Buddy Young's wife, Capitol Tours) on a couple of trips next year that might be of interest to those with military interests. So again, standby on this, information will be forthcoming.