An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Vermont National Guard Logo News
News | March 3, 2022

Soldier Spotlight: Staff Sgt. Claire Johnson

By Joshua Cohen Vermont National Guard Public Affairs

When Staff Sgt. Claire Johnson, a combat medic, joined the New York Army National Guard, she did not anticipate the course her military career would take.

“I originally enlisted in the New York Army National Guard when I was 17, right out of high school,” Johnson explained. “My dad was in the military, so he always pushed me in that direction, I never really knew I wanted to be in the Army, I knew I wanted to be in the medical field first.”

In 2015, Johnson attended Army Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and Combat Medical Specialist Advanced Individual Training at Fort San Antonio, Texas.

After serving in the New York Army National Guard for a year, Johnson transferred to the District of Columbia Army National Guard where she continued with her military and medical training. This is where Johnson obtained her paramedic qualifications through a civilian program while simultaneously becoming familiar with the Blackhawk helicopter.

“After that, I went through another civilian program with the Army for my critical care certification,” Johnson added. “I was in Chicago for two months working with burn and trauma surgeons and other flight medics getting our certifications.”

Deployed to Afghanistan from 2018 to 2019, Johnson said the operational tempo allowed for partnership training. “It was a great experience to train with the personnel and medics from other countries,” Johnson said. “For a few months we trained Afghan Army flight medics, running through scenarios with them to be ready for situations.” We helped them prioritizing equipment for the number of patients they could carry in their Mi-17 helicopters. We also helped them to make the most effective use of the supplies to provide treatment for as many patients as possible.”

After the deployment, Johnson decided to move to Vermont and transfer to the Vermont National Guard.

“I made a color-coded spreadsheet of the education benefits offered by each state; I decided to move back to the Northeast to be near family in New York and Vermont was a state that offered 100% tuition benefits to guard members.”

Soon after arriving in Vermont, Johnson was assigned to the State’s COVID-19 pandemic response. “I helped set up medical equipment and facilitate the movement of equipment that was brought in from across the State, units came together and built an entire functioning hospital in three days,” she explained.

On temporary orders, Johnson now assists recruiting by visiting local high schools and teaching students how to perform emergency first aid. “We have been going to area high schools and teaching students stop-the-bleed classes, use of tourniquets, and basic first-aid while providing a military exposure they may not otherwise have,” said Johnson. “It has been a different experience, talking to a high school class of 30 students challenged me to become a better public speaker.”

With 382 flight hours, Johnson looks forward to her next deployment. Johnson recently completed flight medic instructor training and will soon transition to begin training new flight medics and crew chiefs.

“When I first started in the military, I never imagined I would be where I am now.”

National Guard News
Members of the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 3rd Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team conducted a training proficiency exercise April 11, 2024, at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. The team was evaluated by a U.S. Army North team.
Pennsylvania Guard WMD Civil Support Team Completes Exercise
By Wayne Hall, | April 12, 2024
BLOOMSBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania National Guard’s 3rd Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team conducted a training exercise April 11 to validate its proficiency. In the exercise scenario, potentially contaminated...

Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Marine Forces Reserve, and Maryland National Guard pose for a photo during Deliberate Response '24 at Warren Grove Range, New Jersey, April 6, 2024. The exercise demonstrated the partnership between the Maryland National Guard and the AFBiH through the State Partnership Program.
Maryland Guard, Bosnia and Herzegovina Conduct JTAC Training
By Master Sgt. Christopher Schepers, | April 12, 2024
WARREN GROVE, N.J. - Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina participated in their first live-fire training exercise with state partner the Maryland National Guard April 2-6 at the...

Finnish Maj. Gen. Juha-Pekka Keränen, commander of the Finnish Air Force, meets with Virginia National Guard leaders April 8, 2024, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia. The VNG enjoys an enduring relationship with Finland that includes military training exchanges between Finnish Defence Forces and VNG Soldiers and Airmen.
Finnish Air Force Commander Meets Virginia Guard Leaders
By Mike Vrabel, | April 12, 2024
HAMPTON, Va. - Maj. Gen. Juha-Pekka Keränen, commander of the Finnish Air Force, met with Virginia National Guard leaders April 8 at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.Maj. Gen. James W. Ring, the adjutant general of Virginia, Brig...

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing, South Carolina Air National Guard, are greeted by family and wing personnel as they return from a six-month deployment to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility April 10, 2024. Approximately 150 Swamp Fox Airmen deployed in support of 9th Air Force (Air Forces Central) to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, the unit’s first deployment as an expeditionary air base team under the new Air Force Force Generation model.
South Carolina National Guard Airmen Return From Deployment
By Capt. Lisa Allen, | April 12, 2024
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. - Airmen assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing returned to South Carolina April 10, ending a six-month deployment to U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility as part of the new Air...

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., and the 337th Airlift Squadron from Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., and U.S. Soldiers assigned to the 1-151st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, South Carolina Army National Guard, load an AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopter onto a C-5M Super Galaxy at Shaw AFB, March 22, 2024. The two-day process marked the first time U.S. Army AH-64Es were loaded into a C-5M at Shaw AFB.
Army, Air Force Team up to Load Helicopters at Shaw AFB
By Staff Sgt. Kelsey Owen, | April 11, 2024
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. - U.S. Army and Air Force units worked together to load two U.S. Army AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters onto a C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft at Shaw Air Force Base March 21-22.The helicopters assigned...