EIGHT United States Air Force F-35A Lightning IIs (see table) have deployed to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, to continue NATO’s enhanced air-policing mission along the eastern flank, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The aircraft, all from the Vermont Air National Guard (ANG)/158th Fighter Wing’s 134th Fighter Squadron ‘Green Mountain Boys’ at Burlington Air National Guard Base, Vermont, arrived in Germany on May 2.
The Vermont Air National Guard team will take over the enhanced air-policing mission from the F-35As of Hill Air Force Base’s 388th Fighter Wing,
Prior to the arrival of the F-35As, Omni Air International Boeing 767-36NER N486NX departed from Burlington ANGB for Spangdahlem before dawn on April 29 with an advance party of ground support and other personnel to prepare for their arrival. US Army Maj Gen Greg Knight, the adjutant general of Vermont, said: “We are proud to send our airmen to support the collective defence of our allies and partners. This deployment demonstrates some of the strategic capabilities the Vermont Air National Guard can provide to the nation when needed.”
US Air Force Col David Shevchik, commander of the 158th Fighter Wing, commented: “Being called upon only four months out of conversion to an operational F-35 fighter wing is a testament to our team, their professionalism, commitment and proven capabilities. It is when we are needed most that we are at our best. The Green Mountain Boys are ready and proud to answer this call, and we’re grateful for the support of our families, employers and communities.”