Vermont National Guard Logo News
News | March 26, 2021

Vermont Guard leaders hold town hall to address residents’ questions

By Don Branum Vermont National Guard Public Affairs

Vermont National Guard leaders held a virtual town hall March 25 to address residents’ questions and concerns related to the 158th Fighter Wing’s F-35 Lightning II mission and a recent report of a Soldier who has not maintained the standard of conduct expected from members of the Guard.  

Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, the state adjutant general, hosted the forum along with Brig. Gen. David Manfredi, the director of joint staff, and Air Force Col. David Shevchik, the 158th Fighter Wing commander. 

Knight opened the town hall by directly addressing reports of misconduct that were unearthed by Seven Days reporter Jasper Craven in a story published March 24. Craven’s story highlights the alleged criminal acts of a Soldier who has been in the Guard since 2007. 

“The actions described (in Craven’s article) have no place in the Vermont National Guard or the United States military,” Knight said. “Anyone who chooses to behave in such a way does not deserve to serve in the Vermont National Guard, and I will do everything in my authority to ensure that when I have information of such behavior, I will take the strongest and most appropriate action as I am able within the constraints of regulation and law.” 

Knight said service members should not receive special treatment from courts for their status but instead should be held to a higher standard, and he added that the Vermont Guard must improve its ability to identify service members who engage in criminal behavior. As part of this effort, he worked with the state legislature to create a Provost Marshal team that will improve communication between the Guard and civilian law enforcement agencies, and has asked his Provost Marshal team to conduct background checks of the Guard’s members. 

“In our organization of about 3,200 people, I know the vast majority are living up to and exceeding standards every day. But I want everyone to know that I hear and believe those who had the courage to share their stories,” Knight said. “I will continue to offer my support to them and any other person who needs to share, and when I have information, you’ll be heard.” 

Knight said anyone can use the Vermont Army National Guard or Vermont Air National Guard mobile apps to send information anonymously to him or to agencies such as the inspector general, the sexual assault response coordinator, or the equal employment opportunity officer.  

“If there are members acting aberrantly within this organization ... and you want to come forward, use the app,” he said.  

Shevchik said the 158th Fighter Wing remains on target to meet its deadline to become a fully operational F-35 wing and continues to play a vital role in state COVID-19 response efforts, assembling test kits, conducting COVID mapping and providing vaccines to Service members, their families, and the community. Shevchik also praised the 158th Fire Department, which responded to an aircraft fire on March 24 within one minute of dispatch and extinguished the fire before it could reach the aircraft’s fuel tank. 

Manfredi said the Vermont Army National Guard is continuing its mobilization of approximately 1,000 Soldiers to support missions in U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa Command, and U.S. Central Command. Mobilizations will continue through June. Soldiers are also supporting state missions including the Strategic National Stockpile, COVID mapping and vaccinations, with more than 10,000 vaccines administered to Vermont residents as of this week.  

Most of the questions during the open portion of the town hall focused on concerns about F-35 noise pollution. A noise exposure map released by Burlington International Airport shows a dramatic expansion in noise levels that has accompanied the F-35 mission, with 65-decibel exposure levels extending northwest into downtown Winooski, southeast into Williston, and outward into portions of South Burlington. Pilots take off under reduced power settings and finalize their approach for landing at a higher altitude to mitigate noise, Shevchik said.   

“We understand, we’re members of the community,” Shevchik said. “We live around and serve the community, and we want to be as respectful as we can. However, we also have an obligation and responsibility to meet our federal training requirements.” 

Knight said the Vermont National Guard is working with the airport authority, the Federal Aviation Administration, and Vermont’s Congressional delegation to secure funding for noise mitigation.  

Knight closed the town hall by encouraging Service members and veterans who have deployed to U.S. Central Command to sign up for the Department of Veterans Affairs Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, even if they have not experienced symptoms or illnesses.  

“Over the last several years, we’ve lost service members to odd, aggressive cancers that may have been caused by burn pits,” he said. “If you think you may have been exposed, register. If you know somebody who may have been exposed, get them to register.” 

The full video of the town hall is available on the Vermont National Guard’s Facebook page: March 25 Virtual Town Hall

Vermont Army National Guard Mobile App: 
Google Play:   
Apple App Store:  

Vermont Air National Guard Mobile App: 
Google Play:  
Apple App Store: 

National Guard News
An Airman from the 14th Air Support Operations Squadron jumps from a Pennsylvania Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook during airborne operations at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa. The pilots and crew chiefs of the Chinook worked to provide the Airmen with a stable platform as they moved over the drop area.
Fort Indiantown Gap hosts airborne training
By Brad Rhen, | May 20, 2022
FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – For the first time in about a decade, paratroopers dotted the skies above Fort Indiantown Gap May 17-18.In what is believed to be the first airborne training conducted at Fort Indiantown Gap in 10...

Active, Reserve and Army National Guard components attend a vehicle recovery course at the Regional Training Site-Maintenance (RTS-M), 177th Regiment, Regional Training Institute, Fort Custer Training Center, Augusta, Michigan, May 19, 2022.
Active, Guard and Reserve Soldiers attend vehicle recovery course
By Master Sgt. David Eichaker, | May 20, 2022
AUGUSTA, Mich. – Soldiers assigned to all three components of the Army attended a wheeled vehicle recovery course at Fort Custer Training Center in May. The Regional Training Site-Maintenance (RTS-M) facility hosted the...

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ezekiel Wieland, 272nd Cyber Operations Squadron, 110th Wing, Michigan Air National Guard, participates in a cyber-warfare training event, Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center, Michigan, March 8, 2022.
AI-powered app aims to discover talent in Guard, Reserve
By David Vergun, | May 20, 2022
ARLINGTON, Va. – Members of the Reserve and National Guard are highly skilled across various private-sector industries and have the potential to make substantial contributions to Defense Department missions, a DOD official...

Alaska Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Steven Borcherding, right, 176th Maintenance Squadron aero repair, and U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kyle Lawrie, left, 3rd Maintenance Squadron aero repair, help the passenger of a May 16, 2022, Taylorcraft F-19 crash near Goose Bay Airport, Alaska.
Alaska Guard Soldier, Airmen help rescue plane crash victims
By David Bedard, | May 20, 2022
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – Two Airmen and an Alaska Army National Guard Soldier helped rescue two plane crash victims near Goose Bay Airport west of Anchorage May 16.Alaska Army National Guard Spc. Zach Cherry,...

U.S. Army Spc. Tyler Martin, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter repairer with Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, 29th Infantry Division, Virginia National Guard, conducts maintenance on a Black Hawk at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, March 18, 2022.
Virginia Guard keeps Black Hawks on mission in Kosovo
By Sgt. 1st Class Warren Wright, | May 20, 2022
CAMP BONDSTEEEL, Kosovo – U.S. Army helicopter repairers and maintainers play a critical role in keeping aviation assets flying through routine upkeep and conducting on-the-spot repairs, keeping helicopters safe and ready to...