By Maj. Meghan Smith
158th Fighter Wing
Airmen, aircraft and support equipment from the 158th Fighter Wing departed the week of Jan. 14, 2021, 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.
“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.”
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.
“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”
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. 20-28.