I am the dream of Ethan Allen, soaring above the battlefields of the American Revolutionary War from Bennington to Fort Ticonderoga. Conceived in the Pacific Theater during World War II and nicknamed the “Yellow Scorpions” by none other than Tokyo Rose, I have flown combat patrols in China-India-Burma, escorted cargo and bombers over “the Hump” and provided Close Air Support for units such as “Merrill’s Marauders”. Re-homed to Burlington after the war, I became the 134th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, and by federal recognition on August 14th, 1946, I was born the Vermont Air National Guard or VTANG – legacy of the original Green Mountain Boys.
I have fought over the skies of Korea in P-51’s, trail-blazed the jet age in F-94’s and F89’s, and stood ever vigilant in F-102’s in the infancy of the iron curtain. I have sharpened the electronic combat sword of America’s best in EB-57’s, and protected the sovereign borders of the state and country in F-4’s at the height of the cold war. In my F-16’s I have sprinted to the skies from Vermont to intercept Soviet Tu-95 Bear Bombers over the North Atlantic, and patrolled wide expanses of Saudi-Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq during Operation Southern Watch. On September 11th 2001, one of the nation’s darkest days, I was the first to mobilize and provide around the clock air support over New York, and then other major cities. For 122 consecutive days my guardsmen, from pilots to cooks, ran 24-hour operations to ensure our nation could mourn, recharge and rest knowing her skies were safe.
I have guided in precision weapons to save the lives of countless coalition troops in dire need of air support throughout the deserts and cities of Iraq, and have supplied logistical and security support to hundreds of thousands of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen in Afghanistan.
I have answered the governor’s call numerous times as a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) distributing life-sustaining food, water, blankets and other supplies during state emergencies like Tropical Storm Irene. I stand as the lone firefighting capability for all commercial and private air traffic at the Burlington International Airport, and have lent my brave firefighters and police to the city for fires and accidents that they could not handle without my support.
I may be your doctor, your mechanic, your neighborhood store owner five days a week. But at least once a month I put on my Airman’s uniform and report for duty. Like a superhero with an alter-ego, I become your protector, civil-servant, and unassuming benefactor of freedom. If the nation calls me, I will deploy to regions austere and inhospitable in the name of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I love my state, my family, and my country. I am a quintessential Vermonter. I am a Green Mountain Boy. I am an Air Guardsmen. And I am proud to serve you!