Vermont National Guard Logo Press Releases
Press Release | Aug. 1, 2019

F-35 Update: Arrival on Schedule

Vermont National Guard Public Affairs


The Vermont Air National Guard continues preparations for the arrival of the first two F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft, scheduled for September. The exact dates have not yet been determined and will be announced closer to arrival. The 158th Fighter Wing will be the first Air National Guard unit in the country to receive the F-35s.

Extensive training, renovations to facilities and installation of new equipment have been underway for several years and continues as the arrival date draws near.

“I am extremely proud of the men and women of the Fighter Wing. They have worked incredibly hard to train and prepare for the arrival of the F-35s and we are ready,” said Colonel David Smith, commander of the 158th Fighter Wing. “This is an exciting and important new chapter for the Vermont Air National Guard and the state of Vermont. I am grateful for the support our families and communities have provided through this mission transition to the F-35.”

Nearly 50 Airmen from Vermont have been training on the F-35 Lightning II for the past three years. Volunteers across the Operations, Maintenance, and Mission Support teams integrated into active duty USAF F-35 units around the country to familiarize on the aircraft. Nearly 30 of those Airmen will return to the VTANG prior to the new jet’s arrival, and will form the bedrock of our experienced personnel. Additionally, nearly 200 maintenance professionals will take part in F-35 transition training, taught by highly experienced F-35 instructors from the active duty Air Force, over the course of 90-days beginning in mid-September.

Nine Green Mountain Boy pilots are already qualified or in upgrade training on the F-35, with another six slated for training by year’s end. The fighter pilots who have returned to Vermont, are training regularly in the new F-35 simulator facility.

“As we enter the final stretch prior to receiving our first two F-35s, excitement and pride abounds. Make no mistake, the Green Mountain Boys will be ready on day one when those first wheels touch down at BTV!” said Lt. Col. Nathan Graber, 158th Fighter Wing Plans and Conversion Officer.

Facilities renovations continue apace with the completion of other critical projects expected by the end of August. The cost of construction is approximately $117M on all contracted projects, set for completion in summer of 2020.

A major milestone was the induction of F-35 maintenance support equipment to the 158th Fighter Wing in July. This intensive two-week process includes installing and testing over 900 individual parts and equipment positioned to support future F-35 flying operations. The apron and taxiways are once again open for use, the operations squadron building and simulator projects are complete, and the main maintenance hangar will be operational by the time the first aircraft arrives in September.
The first flight of an F-35 bearing Vermont tail markings took place on July 31 in Fort Worth, Texas.

More information will be shared as we get close to the actual arrival date and an official arrival ceremony is scheduled for October.

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...