Vermont Air National Guard

Tech. Sgt. Sarah Mattison / U.S. Air National Guard

A squadron of Vermont Air National Guard F-16s is landing in Burlington today after a three-month deployment supporting the coalition forces fighting the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Senior Airman Tyler Woodward / U.S. Air Force

On Christmas Day, a Vermont Air National Guard F-16 fighter jet piloted by a person wearing a Santa hat flew combat missions over Iraq, a bomb fixed to its underbelly, supporting the fight against the so-called Islamic State.

Toby Talbot / AP File

Vermont National Guard officials announced the deployment of more than 100 personnel to Japan later this month.

A release from the guard said that “approximately 150 personnel and 10 F-16 Fighting Falcons are set to deploy to the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan” later this month. That means the majority of the Vermont Air National Guard's 18 F-16s will be leaving the state for the deployment.

Andy Poulastides / Eglin Public Affairs

Now that it's decided that F-35s are coming to Vermont, here is what you need to know about the jets, the basing and the heated local debate over the U.S. Air Force's choice.

1. By the time basing is complete in 2020, the Air Force will have spent more than $1.5 billion to bring F-35s to Vermont

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

  For the second time in two weeks, the Vermont Air National Guard summoned the press Thursday to set the record straight in response to claims made by opponents of the F-35.

U.S. Air Force officials are working to choose among basing options for the high-tech fighter jet. Burlington International Airport is high on the list despite opposition much more intense than at the other bases in consideration.

After two weeks on the ground, the Vermont Air National Guard’s pilots are taking off once again this week despite the continuing government shutdown.

Capt. Dyana Allen, a spokeswoman for the guard, said the Air National Guard is resuming training operations so their skills don’t fade.

“They have been directed by the Director of Air National Guard that they will fly to maintain readiness levels,” Allen said.

Allen said the Air Guard’s F-16s will be heard over Burlington again by the end of the week.

Capt. Brad Matherne conducts preflight checks inside an F-35A Lightning II before a training mission April 4 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
Senior Airman Brett Clashman / U.S. Air Force

The Vermont National Guard announced Tuesday evening that the basing decision for the F-35 fighter jet is about to enter its final stage.

In a press release, Major General Steven Cray said the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the jet's impact on the Burlington area is expected next week.

"Barring any unforeseen issues, to the best of my knowledge, the Final EIS Notice of Availability will be released on October 4th," Cray said in a statement.