From the early days, the Lambert family serves and protects the country in agriculture and armed forces
November 3, 2016
Father of Tri-State Livestock News freelancer Heather Fryer shares this history of the family's commitment to the armed forces through the generations.
The Lamberts literally have centuries of military service in their heritage. Great grandfather, George Lambert, many generations earlier than modern times served with Casper Statler in the Revolutionary War.
Later in the French and Indian War, Statler was an ensign in Captain Edwards Pennsylvania Regiment. In 1758 and 1759, they passed over land in western Pennsylvania where they would eventually settle on a farm referred to as "The Fields" and is now known as The Guy Lambert Farm. You can still visit a tiny cemetery on the farm, although coal strip mining has removed many of the woodland features. Many of the headstones refer to military service by the occupants, and most of the dates of death are in the late 1790s.
Within family heritage, however, George is widely credited with the first sawmill in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. This occupational tradition continued through several generations to the extent that several other veterans cut their occupational teeth with heavy labor in the woods and fields.
Charles Lambert, Sr., (my father) grew up farming on the 200 acre rocky farm, and supplied lumber to the local residents and coal mines. In an effort to increase household income, he got a second job as a railroad brakeman on the trains running through Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
Then the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and he convinced the young lady of his life that they he should enlist in the U.S. Army. Following a quick and tiny marital ceremony, they proceeded to Camp Polk, Louisiana. The camp was still under construction, with farm, sawmill, and equipment operation experience, Charles was catapulted to an assignment in the Army Corps of Engineers. Receiving a commission for his work, he shipped out to the Pacific Theater of the war, where he spent some years constructing combat shelters, tank traps, and similar tough structures to support the Allied advance across the Pacific. A little later, he was promoted to Captain and assigned to lead a crew operating a dredge, preparing various harbors and shores for amphibious landings. Unfortunately, late in the war, the dredge was being towed to Manila Harbor in the Philippines, when the convoy encountered a severe storm and the dredge capsized. All that remains of his belongings from the war is a Japanese Sword, and few uniform items, and his officer .45 pistol with engraved holster, of which he was very proud.
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The farm and sawmill heritage continued in the family well after the war. I (Charles, Jr.) was born and raised on another farm, about six miles from grandfather's Guy Lambert farm. The farming of the rocky soil continued, as did the sawmill, updated of course.
As I matured toward senior in high school, I knew I wanted to go to college but didn't know where. The high school counselor lent me a catalog about the Air Force Academy. I had watched the rare little airplane over the farm in the 1960s and the AF Academy was my goal.
Upon graduation from the Academy, I entered pilot training, flew C-130s to over 70 different countries worldwide, and worked numerous other disciplines. Rising to the rank of colonel and staying for 29 and one-half years, my assignments encompassed a wide range of disciplines, including civil engineering, foreign military sales support to Pacific countries, special operations, counterdrug operations, air defense, missile defense, combat planning, and high level field commands. The Air Force offers an intensely interesting life, with exposure and training in skills directly supporting a good life after departing the service.