158th Fighter Wing trains in Florida

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  • 158th Fighter Wing

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. – Women and men of the 158th Fighter Wing train at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, returning to Vermont in late March. Members, aircraft and support equipment departed this week for a training event known as Southern Lightning.

Over 100 airmen from primarily Maintenance and Operations Groups will fly and maintain F-35 operations throughout the training period, developing their readiness while off-station.

“This is the first opportunity to take aircraft, equipment and personnel and practice in a new environment,” said Lt. Col. Ernest Tomasi, 158th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. “We are going to capitalize on our training and lessons learned and continue to improve our processes to be ready with the F-35.”

The Vermont Air National Guard received its first two F-35 Lightning II aircraft in September 2019, and now has seven assigned to the 158th Fighter Wing. The full complement of 20 aircraft is scheduled to arrive in Vermont by summer.

As renovations to remaining flight line facilities continue and additional scheduled aircraft arrive in Vermont, the decision to conduct off-station training was planned in advance to support flying requirements and maintain conversion timelines.

Local F-35 flying operations will continue at the 158th Fighter Wing during Southern Lightning training.

For more information contact 158th Fighter Wing Public Affairs; Lt. Chelsea Clark, 802.660.5379, usaf.vt.158-fw.mbx.public-affairs@mail.mil.