The purpose of our Operations Group is to fly, train to fly, and support the flying operation of the aircraft assigned to the 158th Fighter Wing. Since 1986, our Green Mountain Boys have flown the F-16 (Fighting Falcon). The Air National Guard began their transition to the 5th Generation F-35 (Lightning II) in 2019. The 158th Operations Group is made up of the 134th Fighter Squadron and the 158th Operations Support Squadron.
The 134th Fighter Squadron is made up of fighter pilots who actually fly the aircraft, and members who directly impact flying operations. Pilots can hold positions such as Flight Leads, Instructors, Evaluators, Functional Check Flight pilots and Supervisor of Flying. Though Pilots are the members who have the primary duty of flying our aircraft, there are many other duties that they handle outside of the time actually spent in the cockpit. Some other common roles that they have include:
- Aircrew training – Track the upgrade and reoccurring training for our pilots. They also work with scheduling to ensure members that require training are scheduled for the events that they need.
- Scheduling – Assigns the pilots to the flight and training schedules after coordination with the Director of Operations and Aircrew Training
- Standards and Evaluation – Ensure that pilots are meeting required training and testing to progress through their career.
- Weapons and tactics – Develop and provide training to their fellow pilots on the capabilities, limitations and tactics for employing the weapons our aircraft can carry. They also advise the Fighter Wing staff on operational capabilities, limitations and status of resources.
The primary role of our Operations Support Squadron is to ensure our pilots are able to perform the flying mission of our 158th Fighter Wing. They provide information, manage data, provide equipment and training and ensure our airfield is safe to operate military aircraft on. It is made up of the following specialties:
- Aircrew Flight Equipment – Issue, fit, repair, and maintain life safety equipment for our aircrew. The equipment managed includes items such as flight suits, helmets, parachutes, G-Suits, oxygen systems and survival kits. They also train our aircrew on survival techniques, and perform pre- and post-flight inspections to ensure equipment is maintained in working condition.
- Airfield Management – Provide oversight and guidance on our airfield (runway, ramp, and taxiway) operations. Coordinate with all assigned and hosted aircraft, both civilian and military. Check airfield prior to flights to ensure it can support flight operations, and provide airfield safety related information to our Supervisor of Flying and leadership.
- Aviation Resource Management – Work directly with the aircrew of our 134th Fighter Squadron. Assist with the operation of the squadron duty desk, communicate with the aircrew while flying, provide weather, file flight plans, screen pilots records prior to flight ensuring they are safe to fly and monitor flight related emergencies. They also monitor flight incentive pay, manage aircrew flying hour and training records, produce the orders that authorize Air Force aircrew members to fly, and provide information to inform leadership on the readiness of out aircrew members.
- Intelligence – Provide intelligence support for our 134th Fighter Squadron, 158th Fighter Wing and Joint Force Headquarters-Vermont. Intelligence members offer support to Wing operations by providing force protection information to our Security Forces Squadron and Intelligence support to key decision-makers. Provide threat briefings and personnel recovery training to aircrew, ensuring they have the most current intelligence information available when they are executing day-to-day training, force employment exercises, and combat missions.