US Air Force: No F-35s would likely ground Vt. Air Guard

WASHINGTON (WCAX) If the F-35 fighter jet doesn't land here, the Vermont Air Guard would likely be grounded. That's according to the U.S. Air Force.

U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson testified Thursday in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee about the 2019 budget.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, took the opportunity to ask the secretary if another mission is possible for the Vermont Air Guard without the F-35.

"If the F-35s don't go to Vermont, the F-16s will eventually age out, and it's highly likely that Vermont will no longer have a flying mission for its Guard," Wilson said.

Leahy asked the question in response to allegations being made by opponents of the F-35. The group says Leahy used his power to get the jet here and that documents show misconduct by the Vermont Guard.

Our Darren Perron is working on an in-depth story about that for the Channel 3 News from 5-7 p.m. Friday.