The US Air National Guard deployed 10 F-35A Lightning II aircraft assigned to the 158th Fighter Wing at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, to participate in a weapon system validation exercise.
The 158th Fighter Wing’s press release stated that more than 150 Airmen will attend a two-week training event to validate and verify weapon system performance, determine reliability, assess capabilities and limitations, identify deficiencies, and assign corrective actions recommend.
“Everyone is excited about the opportunity to bring the Vermont Air National Guard to the streets,” said Lt. Col. Brian D. Sherry, 158th fighter wing plan officer. “This is all part of the development to achieve F-35 combat readiness status. We are all tested on a wide range of tactics in order to prepare for real-world deployments. “
The 158th fighter wing will be incorporated into small and large strength exercises with other Air National Guard squadrons.
To reduce the risk of exposure while traveling and exercising with other units, Airmen adhere to appropriate COVID-19 protocols.
“We continue to place great emphasis on the health and safety of our members, families and communities,” said Col. David W. Shevchik, 158th Fighter Wing commander. “We have taken risk mitigation measures to reduce risk while balancing the execution of our critical missions at the federal and federal levels and meeting our operational readiness requirements.”
To protect Airmen, their families, and the community, Airmen will be tested for COVID-19 upon their return to Vermont.
Due to off-station training, no local F-35 flight operations are planned from January 20-28.