- Associated Press
Saturday, January 16, 2021

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - About 150 members of the Vermont Air National Guard are headed to Florida for a training exercise that is part of a plan to make them ready to fly F-35 fighter jets in combat.

The two-week training event will verify weapon system performance, determine reliability, evaluate capability and limitations, identify deficiencies and recommend corrective action.

“This is all part of the evolution to achieve F-35 combat readiness status,” said Lt. Col. Brian D. Sherry of the 158th Fighter Wing. “We’ll all be tested across a wide spectrum of tactics in preparation for real-world deployments.”

The South Burlington-based Vermont Air Guard was the first National Guard unit in the country to receive the F-35 fighter.

The guard says the airmen will follow COVID-19 protocols and they will be tested for the virus on their return to Vermont.

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