158th Fighter Wing supports COVID-19 response while continuing F-35 Flying Operations

  • Published
  • By Capt. Mike Arcovitch
  • 158th Fighter Wing

The 158th Fighter Wing will continue flying operations as scheduled in order to maintain federal mission readiness requirements while also supporting the State of Vermont response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Vermont Air National Guard is a diverse organization and currently has 50 Airmen on state active duty directly supporting COVID-19 response efforts.

“We are in a unique position as an F-35 Air National Guard fighter wing, playing a critical role in the nation’s national security. We have a responsibility and obligation to meet our federal readiness requirement and stay on our conversion timeline,” said Col. David Shevchik, commander, 158th Fighter Wing, Vermont Air National Guard. “We take our state and federal missions very seriously and are taking every precaution to maintain the health of our force during this unprecedented time.”

The Vermont National Guard has a responsibility to maintain readiness for state and federal missions. Airmen at the 158th Fighter Wing and Vermont Air National Guard are always available to respond, if called upon, to provide additional assets should the State of Vermont or nation request them.

“The National Guard has the unique responsibility to support our home state of Vermont while also maintaining readiness for federal call-ups,” said Brig. Gen. Greg Knight, adjutant general, Vermont National Guard. “We will practice social distancing in all our training to include a virtual drill for at least April. We are uniquely built for this, and will continue to provide all assets available to us as requested from the Governor.”

F-35 training at the 158th Fighter Wing will continue as scheduled with take-offs planned for the morning and early afternoon. The Vermont Air National Guard received its first two F-35 Lightning II aircraft in September 2019, and now has 15 assigned to the 158th Fighter Wing. The full complement of 20 aircraft is scheduled to arrive in Vermont by summer 2020.

The Vermont National Guard is working side-by-side with Vermont Emergency Management, the Vermont Department of Health, Governor Scott’s office and all emergency response personnel to support a whole-of-government approach. Vermont National Guard missions are in direct support of the governor, the Vermont Department of Health and the Department of Emergency Management in combatting COVID-19. We will continue to share information when it becomes available.

If you have additional questions, please contact Capt. Mike Arcovitch at 802-338-3478, mikel.r.arcovitch.mil@mail.mil.