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NEWS | June 8, 2022

Pilot Deployed with Vermont Guard Reaches 1,000-hour Milestone a 3rd Time

By Maj. Meghan Smith, 158th Fighter Wing

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. – U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Christopher J. White, the 315th Fighter Squadron commander assigned to the 158th Fighter Wing, Vermont Air National Guard, reached his 1,000th flight hour milestone in the F-35A Lightning II June 3 while deployed to Germany to support NATO missions in Europe.

“It’s incredibly humbling to get to fly that 1,000th hour with the most professional and lethal team that I’ve ever had the privilege of working and flying with,” said White. “I consider myself very fortunate to be overseas at a potential turning point in history, providing fifth-generation air power to the combatant commander to deter our adversaries and assure our NATO allies.”

The F-35 is the third airframe in which White has passed the 1,000th flight hour mark.

“It’s been awesome to get to fly three different aircraft overseas in my career. I started off with the F-15E and flew more than 1,500 hours in that over eight years and also in a one-year deployment I got over 1,000 hours in the MC-12 flying over Afghanistan,” said White. “I transitioned to the F-35 in 2013 and have been flying it ever since. I had the opportunity to get in early on the F-35, and I’ve been super lucky to be a part of some great teams along the way, and now I get to fly operationally here with Vermont.”

The 315th Fighter Squadron is an active-duty unit assigned to the Vermont Air National Guard’s 158th Fighter Wing under the Total Force Integration program.

“We were one of the first units in the TFI program, which was developed by the U.S. Air Force to leverage capabilities in each component of the Air Force,” said Col. Michael Blair, 158th Operations Group commander. “We learn from and challenge each other, and it’s been great working with the active duty for so long.”

The 158th Fighter Wing replaced the 388th Fighter Wing, Hill Air Force Base, in Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, in early May.

“I’m incredibly proud of our team here. They hit the ground running with help from the 388th because we didn’t have all of our equipment right away,” said White. “Our Green Mountain Boys were generating lines from the start, and I have absolute and complete confidence in our Airmen and the aircraft. You talk to a crew chief and he or she knows everything about their jet. In terms of which squadron and which wing would you want out here, it’s definitely the Green Mountain Boys. I’m very humbled to be a part of that.”

 

 

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