Airmen, aircraft and support equipment from the 158th Fighter Wing depart this week to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida to participate in a weapon system validation exercise. More than 150 airmen will participate in this two week training event to validate and verify weapon system performance, determine reliability, evaluate capability and limitations, identify deficiencies, and recommend corrective action. The 158th Fighter Wing will be integrating with other Air National Guard squadrons in small and large force exercises. To reduce the risk of exposure during travel and training with other units, Airmen adhere to appropriate COVID-19 protocols. To protect Airmen, their families and the community, Airmen will be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to Vermont. Due to the off station training, there are no local F-35 flying operations scheduled from Jan. 20 to Jan. 28.
“Everyone is excited for the opportunity to take the Vermont Air National Guard on the road,” said Lt. Col. Brian D. Sherry, 158th Fighter Wing Plans Officer. “This is all part of the evolution to achieve F-35 combat readiness status. We’ll all be tested across a wide spectrum of tactics in preparation for real world deployments.”
“We continue to prioritize the health and safety of our members, families and communities,” said Col. David W. Shevchik, 158th Fighter Wing Commander. “We have mitigation measures in place to reduce risk while still balancing the execution of our critical state and federal missions, and meet our operational readiness requirements”
The 158th Fighter Wing (158 FW) is a unit of the Vermont Air National Guard, stationed at Burlington Air National Guard Base, Burlington, Vermont. If activated to federal service, the Wing is gained by the United States Air Force Air Combat Command. The mission of the 158th Fighter Wing was to utilize the F-16 Fighting Falcon to provide a relatively low-cost, high-performance weapon system for the United States and allied nations. Many times Vermont F-16’s were called upon to fly to a point just short of Iceland and escort Soviet bombers as they flew off the coastline of the United States. The 158th FW has also assisted with aircraft experiencing in-flight malfunctions and hijackings. They have since ceased the use of the F-16, and started receiving the F-35 in September 2019.