Green Mountain Guard July 2021

TAG's Corner

In July's TAG's Corner, Maj. Gen. Greg Knight encourages Soldiers and Airmen to get the COVID-19 vaccine, discusses mental health options available to service members, and shares a personal story about his own post-deployment experience.

Mental wellness resources for Vermont National Guard service members can be found at http://www.vtguard.com/mental-health or on the VTNG Mobile App under the "Soldier Wellness" feature.

Army National Guard Promotions

  • Master Sgt. Janel Jewell
  • Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Cutroni
  • Sgt. 1st Class Robert Moore
  • Staff Sgt. Nicole Bergeron
  • Staff Sgt. John Curtis
  • Staff Sgt. Jason Knight
  • Staff Sgt. Todd Newton
  • Sgt. Joseph Barney
  • Sgt. Cole Heyman
  • Sgt. Dean Jones
  • Sgt. Daney Reyes-Rojas
  • Spc. Danielle Bryan
  • Spc. Noelle Cave
  • Spc. Jack Church
  • Spc. Luke Grella
  • Spc. Giddieon Hinton
  • Spc. Evan Lanphear
  • Spc. Ian Mangosan
  • Spc. Spencer Perkins
  • Spc. Jacob Stimson
  • Pfc. Samuel Austin
  • Pfc. Anthony Schneider
  • Pfc. Tiago Tomasi
  • Pfc. Shane Vinton
  • Pfc. Gunnar Watson
  • Pvt. Kevin Freeman
  • Pvt. Samuel Goodwin

Air National Guard Promotions

  • Tech. Sgt. Priscilla Chates
  • Tech. Sgt. Hayden Lessor
  • Tech. Sgt. Michael Strand
  • Staff Sgt. Melanie Constantino
  • Senior Airman James Anair
  • Senior Airman Romario Bailey
  • Senior Airman Kimberly Courcy
  • Senior Airman Kace Nelson
  • Airman 1st Class Adam Brown
  • Airman 1st Class Caden Getty
  • Airman 1st Class John Kell
  • Airman 1st Class Kyler Kelley
  • Airman 1st Class Kierra McFadden
  • Airman Nathan Hebert

Cover Story:

From Iraq to Vermont

Guardsman details his long road to military service

For 24-year-old Vermont Army National Guard Specialist Ali Aljarah, military service means being prepared to deploy, “as the only way to protect and serve my country to help stop harm from being caused anywhere in the world.”

And the 88M Army Motor Transport Operator would know. In 2012 Aljarah, with his mother, father, brother and sister, emigrated to the US from Iraq, settling in Vermont.

VTANG Fire Department assists with Winooski fire response

Courtesy Photo | Vermont Air National Guard fire fighters work to extinguish a fire on the roof of a small apartment building in Winooski, VT during the early morning hours of Wednesday, July 14, 2021.

The Vermont Air National Guard fire department responded to a small apartment building fire in Winooski early Wednesday morning.

“The crews assisted with fire control, search, salvage and overhaul. The fire had spread throughout the walls and reached the attic. This made things exponentially more difficult for on scene crews to mitigate,” said Brannon Sotor, Vermont Air National Guard installation fire chief. “All personnel on scene worked seamlessly to bring the fire under control.”

Spc. Dacosta wins ARCENT Best Warrior

Spc. Omar Dacosta, an infantryman with A Co., 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry, will represent U.S. Army Central at the U.S. Army Forces Command's Best Warrior Competition Aug. 2.

Dacosta and the other competitors have already won Soldier and NCO of the Year awards at their battalion, brigade and division levels.

158th Fighter Wing launches public tour program

The Vermont Air National Guard welcomed visitors on base in June as part of the newly launched public tour program.

“We’re very excited to provide an opportunity for community members to visit the base and get an up-close look at some of our missions,” said Col Adam Rice, 158th Vice Wing Commander. “After having the base mostly closed to the public for so long, it’s nice to be able to interact again.”

Vermont Soldiers arrive in Kosovo

A Vermont National Guard regimental flag flies at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, July 22.

Greetings from Kosovo!

After spending about two weeks at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, Soldiers mainly from the Vermont National Guard once again packed up and moved out! We give a huge ‘thank you!’ to the full-time staff at JMRC for all their help preparing us for our mission in Kosovo. As we took the beautiful bus ride back to Nuremberg, Germany we realized we were ready to fly to Pristina, Kosovo for our Kosovo Force (KFOR) 29 mission.

Red Flag: More than 200 Airmen to train at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

Vermont Air National Guard Airmen board a 179th Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules to depart for Red Flag, held at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

Airmen, aircraft and support equipment from the Vermont Air National Guard will begin departing on July 14, from the 158th Fighter Wing to train at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. This three-week exercise, known as Red Flag, provides pilots, aircrew and operators a realistic training environment to prepare them for any combat environment.

“This Red Flag will be the first time two F-35A squadrons have participated together. Other Air Force and Navy aircraft will also participate,” said Lt. Col. John MacRae, the 134th Fighter Squadron commander. “The significance of such a robust Air Superiority force is that this is the absolute best training anywhere in the world to prepare for night combat operations against a peer adversary.”

Senegalese National Fire Brigade visits Vt.

From July 11-21, delegates from Senegal’s National Fire Brigade (Brigade Nationale des Sapeurs-Pompiers) visited Vermont as part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program.

According to Col. Randall Gates, VTNG director of military support, “The overall objective of the visit was for Brig. Gen. Seck and his subordinates to gain a good understanding of emergency preparedness and response across all state agencies, so we set up visits with Urban Search and Rescue, Vermont Emergency Management, and the Vermont Fire Academy, we also had a visit to the Pittsford Fire Department.” Gates was responsible for the Senegal delegation’s logistics and organizing agency demonstrations.

Voluntary COVID mapping task force concludes operations

Army 1st Lt. Joan Emerson of Charlie Company, 186th Brigade Support Battalion, records the hospital beds that are part of each medical pod at the Alternate Healthcare Facility in Essex, Vermont, on April 7th, 2020.

In the early winter of 2020, Vermont Governor Phil Scott tasked the Vermont Department of Health and the Vermont National Guard with mapping the spread of COVID-19 across the state.

Upon request of the VDH, the Vermont National Guard’s voluntary COVID-19 Mapping Mission began on November 16, 2020, according to Air National Guard Lt. Col. Daniel Rissacher, officer in charge of the "Voluntary COVID Mapping" operation.

Guardsmen transition pandemic support missions at SNS

As members of the Vermont National Guard’s pandemic response force disassembled and stored an emergency medical surge facility recently used as a mass vaccination site, termination of Vermont’s COVID-19 state of emergency has led to a shift in priorities for Soldiers and Airmen supporting the State’s Strategic National Stockpile.

Specifically intended to store and provide Personal Protective Equipment for emergency medical situations, distribution of such equipment remains a priority for about half of the Guard members posted to Vermont’s SNS.

New 124th RTI commander details unit's COVID-19 response

Col. William Wagner (center) accepts the guidon for the 124th Regiment (Regional Training Institute) from Brig. Gen. James Pabis (left) during the 124th RTI's change-of-command ceremony March 6, 2021, at Camp Johnson, Vermont. The 124th RTI is home to the Army Mountain Warfare School, Information Operations Battalion, Officer Candidate School, and the Basic Leaders Course. Also pictured is 124th RTI Command Sgt. Maj. John Digby III (right).

Operations at the Vermont National Guard’s 124th Regional Training Institute are gradually returning to the pre-COVID normal according to the Institute’s newly appointed commander, Col. William Wagner.

"It’s more complex than simply not having to wear a mask anymore," he said, pointing out the post pandemic reopening will require continual adaptation.