SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. – Airmen, aircraft and support equipment from the 158th Fighter Wing, Vermont Air National Guard, began departing Aug. 3 to train at the Volk Field Air National Guard base in Wisconsin.
The two-week Northern Lightning exercise will be conducted in a joint training environment, emphasizing the integration of fourth-generation aircraft, like the F-18 Hornet, and fifth-generation aircraft, like the F-35 Lightning II.
“The main focus of Northern Lightning is on large force employment training with multiple platforms, targeting high-value targets in a contested environment,” said Lt. Col. Adam Nichols, the 158th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. “This is a key exercise on our road to combat readiness.”
As military technology continues to advance in the 21st century battlespace, joint exercises like Northern Lightning provide combat-based scenarios that help prepare Airmen at a tactical level for real missions when deployed.
“We, the Green Mountain Boys, are excited for this opportunity to attend the Northern Lightning Exercise,” said Senior Master Sgt. Tina Deep, the 158th Maintenance Group weapons element supervisor. “This training will expand our knowledge and help us continue to grow together as a new F-35 unit.”
More than 250 members of the Vermont Air National Guard will participate in Northern Lightning. Due to the exercise, there will be no F-35 flying operations at the Vermont Air National Guard base Aug. 8-20.