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Schoolhouse unites father, son for C-130 mission

A father and son pose for a photo in front of a C-130 on a flightline.

Col. Jeffrey Armentrout, 302nd Airlift Wing vice commander, Peterson Air Force Base, left, and his son, Airman Trevor Armentrout, 700th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, recently attended the Center of Excellence, a C-130 school house at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Col. Armentrout, a C-130H3 senior officer course graduate, and Airman Armentrout, a loadmaster qualification course graduate, attended the schoolhouse as students at the same time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mercedes Taylor)

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

Airman Trevor Armentrout, 700th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, often receives guidance through one of his mentors, his father, Col. Jeffrey Armentrout, 302nd Airlift Wing vice commander.

The father-and-son duo were recently assigned as students at the 714th Training Squadron here to attend the C-130 Center of Excellence. Col. Armentrout trained to become a C-130H pilot while his son is trained to become a loadmaster.

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

Before attending the technical school, Col. Armentrout spent 10 years on active duty as a C-5 Galaxy pilot. In 2000, he transitioned to the Air Reserves, where he has served for 17 years.

“In the Reserves, I’ve had to spend a lot of time away from my family,” Col. Armentrout 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 and throughout his son’s childhood, Col. Armentrout passed down family values to his son.

“He gave me a good life and I want to provide that for my children, someday,” Airman Armentrout. “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, Airman Armentrout 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,” Airman Armentrout 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 Reserves,” Col. Armentrout said.

His son eventually joined the Air Force as a Reservist. Now that he has had some time in the Air Force, Airman Armentrout respects and understands what his father does even more.

“Whether he saw it or not, I always thought his job was important,” Airman Armentrout 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.”

Growing up with a father in the Air Force influenced Airman Armentrout to enlist and create his own career path in the Air Force.

“(His mother and I) are proud of his decision to serve,” Col. Armentrout said. “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.”

With the training the Armentrouts have received at Little Rock Air Force Base, Col. Armentrout will be a pilot for the C-130H at the 302nd AW. His son will be studying at Kennesaw State University while in the Air Force Reserves as a loadmaster at the 700th AS.

Although they will be in separate bases, the Armentrouts will serve together in the Air Force in the C-130H legacy, taking their values their fathers have passed along to them.