Fighter Wing 158 (158 FW), a unit of the Vermont Air National Guard, organized a welcome ceremony to celebrate the arrival of the first F-35 Lightning II fighter to the wing, South Burlington Air National Guard Base, Vt. on October 19, 2019.
The 158th FW is the first unit of the National Air Guard to receive the fifth most recent fighter generation of the Air Force, having received two in September out of a total of 20 that will arrive in the coming months.
Air Force Colonel David Smith, fighter wing commander 158, Vermont Air National Guard, Air Force Lieutenant General Scott Rice, Air National Guard director, Air Force General.
Joseph Lengyel, head of the National Guard Office, Greg Ulmer, vice president and general manager of the F-35 program, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Patrick Leahy, senator for Vermont, Phil Scott, governor of Vermont and brigadier general Gregory Knight, Vermont’s general assistant attended a welcome ceremony to celebrate the arrival of the F-35 Lightning II to the wing.
“Of all the people we recognize today, our leaders, our supporters, our community stakeholders, the most significant assistants today are our aviators,” said Deputy General Gregory Knight.
“You make the aircraft fly.”
Lieutenant Colonel Nate Graber says that the fighters of the fifth generation put our country one step ahead of our enemies.
“The threats that loom over the nation are increasingly technologically advanced. They are becoming more serious threats, so to speak,” said Lt. Col. Graber.
“It is a great honor to be part of the force that is really out there to be able to combat these growing threats.”
“The information provided to the pilot on the F-35 is in his helmet. So as you turn your head or move your vision, all that information moves with it.”
“So it really allows him to have a very high knowledge of the situation,” added Greg Ulmer, Vice President and General Manager of the F-35 Program at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
As the first hunting wing to receive the F-35 Lighting II, Guard officers say Vermont is paving the way for a stronger partnership between the Air Force and the Air National Guard, better protecting the United States from adversaries.
“We have created the template that we have shared with the states that will follow us,” said Col. David Smith, Commander of the Hunting Wing 158.