Thursday, December 07, 2017

Guard Troops Were Training When Japanese Attacked Pearl Harbor

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 7, 2017 — We recognize today as the 76th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and as the beginning of a long and hard military struggle for the United States and its allies.

More than 3,400 military personnel and civilians were killed and wounded that day, with significant damage inflicted upon the Pacific Fleet and to the Army Air Corps squadrons stationed in Hawaii. At this uncertain time, Americans came together in a common cause to prevail in an unwanted war.

In terms of readiness for a war, the National Guard was a bellwether of the country and its citizens in December 1941. After Germany's 1939 invasion of Poland, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had declared a state of national emergency to begin preparing for American involvement in what was increasingly becoming a global war.

Ordered Into Federal Service

As part of this peacetime emergency measure, the entire National Guard -- more than 300,000 soldiers -- was ordered into federal service, with some units mobilized as early as September 1940.

So when the Japanese attack came and war suddenly was inevitable, guardsmen were training in ground and air units all across the country. Moreover, because United States territories overseas were in desperate need of reinforcement, National Guard units had been deployed to augment the defenses of both Hawaii and the Philippine Islands well before Dec. 7.

Guardsman were consequently in the thick of the fray during both attacks, claiming both the first Japanese prisoner of war at Pearl Harbor, by the 298th Infantry from Hawaii, and the first Japanese plane shot down in the Philippines, by the 200th Coast Artillery from New Mexico.

Reassuring Beleaguered Allies

By virtue of the peacetime mobilization, the National Guard increased the size of the Army, providing the War Department with trained, organized, and thus deployable units. It also enabled the United States to almost immediately reassure beleaguered allies in both the Far East and in Europe with more than just words, but with actual American fighting men. A portent of the future, this token American military readiness, demonstrated through trained and ready units, inspired hope, both at home and abroad.
On this day, we remember. The great loss of life in the line of duty on Dec. 7, 1941, compels the nation today, as it did then, to remember and to honor the sacrifice of those lost then, and to reaffirm its commitment to the men and women who defend the United States today.

Face of Defense: Father, Son Reunite for C-130 Mission

By Air Force Senior Airman Mercedes Taylor, 19th Airlift Wing

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark., Dec. 7, 2017 — Mentors come in many forms. And, whether they’re coworkers, supervisors or even friends, they provide personal and professional advice that can impact someone for the rest of their lives.

Air Force Airman Trevor Armentrout, a loadmaster, often receives guidance from one of his mentors: his father, Air Force Col. Jeffrey Armentrout, 302nd Airlift Wing vice commander.

Father and son were recently assigned as students at the 714th Training Squadron here to attend the C-130 Center of Excellence. Jeffery trained to become a C-130H3 Hercules pilot for the Air Force Reserve’s 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. His son trained as a loadmaster and is serving in the Air Force Reserve’s 700th Airlift Squadron at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, while studying at Kennesaw State University, Georgia.

“[Being at the schoolhouse] was a treat for me and his mother,” Jeffery said. “We enjoyed some fun recreational excursions together and caught up with Trevor on all his Air Force training experiences.”

Family Time

Before attending the technical school, the senior Armentrout spent 10 years on active duty as a C-5 Galaxy pilot. In 2000, he transitioned to the Air Force Reserve.

“In the reserve I’ve had to spend a lot of time away from my family,” he said. “Every month, I had to leave the house and disappear somewhere for a few days. When I was home, I focused on the things we could do together when we had the time. Both my boys were in the Boy Scouts, so I invested a lot of time doing that with them. I have the fondest memories of those experiences.”

It was during those times together that Jeffery passed down family values to his son.

“He gave me a good life and I want to provide that for my children, someday,” Trevor said of his father. “He raised me to want to be willing to help others. My father also made sure I knew I had to earn my way in life, so I want my children to know that too.”

In addition to helping others and working hard, Trevor said he felt the need to serve his country.

“Since my dad served in the Air Force, I thought I would serve my country too, but not in the same way he did,” he said. “And then I thought, ‘Why not go to school and join the military?’”

“When my son brought up the idea of joining the Air Force, he also indicated he wanted to go to school, so I suggested the reserve,” Jeffery said.

Deeper Understanding

Trevor eventually joined the Air Force Reserve. Now that he has had some time in the Air Force, he respects and understands what his father does even more.

“Whether he saw it or not, I always thought his job was important,” Trevor said. “I always understood that, but going into the Air Force gave me an understanding of all he does. I understood why he would have to leave every so often because he was supporting us and our country.”
“[His mother and I] are proud of his decision to serve,” Jeffery said of his son. “The Air Force has been a big part of our life and I know he will benefit from the experience. I’m hopeful that the Air Force chief of staff focus on revitalizing the squadron will improve Trevor's overall experience so that he continues a long and rewarding career.”