LUDLOW, Vt. – In a very detailed and interesting presentation, Chief Master Sergeant Jeffrey A. Stebbins of the Vermont Air National Guard discussed the role of that group with the Ludlow Rotary Club during its weekly Zoom-based meeting.
Stebbins emphasized that the role of the VT ANG represented the epitome of “the importance of citizen soldiers” in supporting both the military and civilian role of the Air National Guard.
In describing the recent replacement of the aged F-16 jet fighters with the new F-35 planes, he noted that VT ANG “is about one year out from being totally converted to F-35 planes.” Currently, all 20 F-35 planes have arrived at the Burlington International Airport facility of VT ANG, making it the first base in the country to receive its full complement of the state-of-the-art aircraft.
The total number of VT ANG members is just under 1,000 personnel. The bulk of this staff covers the maintenance of the planes, airport, and structure needs. In addition to the military obligations of the command, VT ANG members have played a vital role in Covid-19 relief and assistance.
Stebbins cited the following activities in which members of VT ANG have provided assistance in the pandemic:
- VT ANG has devoted over a 1,000 man-hours to building a removable hospital, erecting it, dismantling it, and, when resurgence in Covid illness occurred, rebuilding it.
- Delivering over three million meals to Vermont residents
- Testing over 12,000 people for the virus, and
- Soon becoming involved in the actual handling of Covid-19 vaccinations.