Air Combat Command has activated yet another Air National Guard unit for an overseas deployment as part of a rotational Theater Security Package (TSP). Vermont’s mission-ready 158th Fighter Wing, the Green Mountain Boys, have arrived in Japan, and are set to join with the 18th Wing at the sprawling Kadena Air Base on the island of Okinawa.
Employing the Block 30 F-16C+, the 158th Fighter Wing’s TSP will see about 150 airmen and 10 jets deployed to Japan, augmenting Pacific Command’s force structure. They’ll replace Wisconsin’s 115 FW which deployed to Kadena during the Jan-April timeframe.
They won’t be the only ANG fighter unit in theater, as South Dakota’s Lobos deployed to the Republic of Korea just over a month ago where they were welcomed into the Wolf Pack at Kunsan Air Base.
Both fighter wings were participants in Red Flag 15-1 at Nellis AFB earlier this year – and now both are deployed to the same region. The two wings are now only 600 miles apart.
Colonel Patrick Guinee, 158 FW Commander, had this to say about his airmen’s deployment: “The Green Mountain Boys are both prepared and excited to help America fulfill its charge in the Asia-Pacific theater of operations… our Airmen are always ready and well-trained to engage in any state or federal mission when called.”
Though the Vermont National Guard traces its heritage back to the Revolutionary War, the aviation branch was formed in 1946, making it the among the very oldest Air Guard units. Like many of its fellow ANG units, it once was a Fighter Interceptor Group and later maintained the Air Defense mission with the ADF version of the Viper. Now the wing has a general purpose mission, utilizing block 30 jets obtained from Montana in 2008 when the 120FW divested its F-16s in favor of F-15s.
We want to wish the Green Mountain Boys a safe and successful deployment, and look forward to their return!