Vermont Air National Guard celebrates 75th anniversary

Published: Jun. 6, 2021 at 8:47 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2021 at 11:44 PM EDT
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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The Vermont Air National Guard is celebrating 75 years of service to Vermont and the United States.

For the first time since the pandemic began, 300 airmen and women of the Vermont Air National Guard came together in person to celebrate their 75th anniversary.

“And now, after serving alongside our state and federal partners in the battle against COVID, we can safely reunite,” said Col. David Shevchik.

Service members stood in formation at the Burlington Air National Guard base on Sunday as they reflected on the accomplishments the Guard has made since being federally recognized in 1946. That includes their service throughout the past year as the world fought against COVID-19.

“From assembling test kits to constructing ancillary medical surge units to leading vaccination clinics,” said Shevchik. “And we’ve also deployed over 70 airmen overseas to meet the global mission requirements.”

“Over the last year-and-a-half, there’s been no greater partner than the men and women of our National Guard,” said Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont. “The work you took on was crucial and led to a response and recovery that is the envy of the nation.”

As the event came to an end, four F-35 fighter jets flew overhead. The F-35 is the ninth combat aircraft the Vermont Air National Guard has flown during its 75 years. Because of the noise, the jets have been a topic of contention since a mission to station them at the Burlington International Airport was approved, bringing the aircraft to Vermont in 2019.

The jets fly multiple times a week over several towns, including Winooski. Some people WCAX News spoke with on Sunday say they are getting used to them.

“It’s not like they’re flying at midnight. So who cares?” said Thomas Walker, who lives in Winooski. “It’s the sound of freedom. It’s the sound of America. It’s loud but it’s not unbearable or anything.”

“Unless there are like three or four going right in a row and I was in a meeting, then maybe it was more irritating but it is what it is, I guess,” said Allie Fontanese who works at Mule Bar in downtown Winooski.

WCAX reached out to the Burlington International Airport for an update on current noise mitigation efforts but didn’t hear back before this article was published.

Last year, airport officials announced a new pilot program to soundproof more than 2,600 homes near the airport.

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