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Green Mountain Guard September 2021

TAG's Corner

As part of my mission to provide ready forces to combatant commanders, I am directing all Vermont National Guard service members to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Vermont has led the way in vaccination thanks to you, both for receiving the vaccine yourselves and for helping distribute it throughout the state. But for our forces to be ready, everyone must now receive the vaccine.
I wouldn't deploy forces with 80 percent of the body armor they need, and now, following full FDA approval and DOD directive, I won't deploy forces that are just 80 percent vaccinated.

Army National Guard Promotions

  • Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Trombly
  • Staff Sgt. Joshua Gadue
  • Sgt. Jacob Abbott
  • Sgt. Marc Arseneau
  • Cpl. Syed Abbas
  • Spc. Samuel Audet
  • Spc. Benjamin Beaudoin
  • Spc. Matthew Durgin
  • Spc. Joseph Earley
  • Spc. Eli Hess
  • Spc. Miles Hiler
  • Spc. Kemar Scafe
  • Spc. Robert Scheller
  • Spc. Jonas Schroeder
  • Spc. Ian Sewell
  • Pfc. Camden Bombredi
  • Pfc. Avril DeSautels
  • Pfc. Zachary Gray
  • Pfc. Wayne Hall II
  • Pfc. Henry Kenyon
  • Pfc. Kristopher Kozminski
  • Pfc. Seth Maharaj
  • Pfc. Logan Neathery
  • Pfc. Rey Vazquez
  • Pfc. Grace Whaley
  • Pvt. Aidan Bowles
  • Pvt. Joshua Jackson
  • Pvt. Chase Lafoe
  • Pvt. Taylor Larocque
  • Pvt. Lucas Marcoux

Air National Guard Promotions

  • Tech. Sgt. Olivia Griswold
  • Staff Sgt. Donaghue Burke
  • Staff Sgt. Connor Farney
  • Staff Sgt. Parker Lambert
  • Staff Sgt. Dylan Nutt
  • Staff Sgt. Morgan Wells
  • Staff Sgt. Zackary Wright
  • Senior Airman Jonathan Murray
  • Senior Airman Anthony Valenti
  • Airman John Dublanyk

Air National Guard Stripes for Skills Promotions

  • Airman 1st Class John Phillips (Date of Rank: June 11, 2021)
  • Airman 1st Class Ethan Ploof (Date of Rank: May 28, 2021)
  • Airman Justin Thorpe (Date of Rank: Oct. 17, 2020)

COVER STORY: Afghan evacuees arrive in Kosovo

Soldiers and Airmen from Task Force Ever Vigilant at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, began receiving evacuees from Afghanistan Sept. 20, 2021, at Pristina International Airport.

COVER PHOTO: A Soldier fist bumps a child as Afghans load a bus for Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, Sept. 20, 2021. Top left: Soldiers and Airmen offload a C-17 Globemaster carrying Afghans at Pristina International Airport in Pristina, Kosovo. Top right: Pfc. Emma Fogle, a medic with Task Force Ever Vigilant, takes the temperature of an Afghan at Camp Bondsteel. Center: A mother hugs her child after arriving in Kosovo at Pristina International Airport. Bottom left: Airmen unload luggage from a C-17 at Pristina International Airport. Bottom right: Spc. Alejandro Haro, a military policeman with Task Force Ever Vigilant, checks in Afghans at Camp Bondsteel.

Training is critical: Current Vermont deployments are proof

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo – Training in the Army prepares Soldiers for a variety of circumstances and events. Vigilant Guard is a training event that puts to test our response to domestic emergencies. The Joint Readiness Training Center at Folk Polk, Louisiana, trains Soldiers to operate in a combat environment. Vermont Soldiers conducted pre-mobilization training at Fort Bliss and Fort McGregor prior to their deployments, focusing on a variety of elements Soldiers would most likely face on deployment. All the jobs and specialties in the Army are put to the test to make sure Soldiers are ready for whatever missions they may face. Our current deployments across the world are clear evidence as to why training is so important.

Many Soldiers from Vermont deployed after tirelessly supporting the State of Vermont in our combined joint response to COVID-19. A smaller group went to Washington, D.C. to support efforts in securing a variety of locations during the Presidential Inauguration. Once deployed overseas, a contingent of Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry (Mountain), found themselves defending the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. They helped secure the airport while the United States and NATO allies evacuated tens of thousands of people. Vermont Soldiers, while continuing their regular assigned missions in their respective areas of operations, now find themselves supporting Afghan travelers waiting for transport to their final destinations in the United States or elsewhere around the world.

Vermont Guardsman awarded $8,000 for M17 training round extraction solution

First Lt. Anna Kretzer, a platoon leader assigned to the 527th Military Police Company qualifies on the new M17. The Army started fielding Military Police units with the new SIG Sauer M17 pistol to replace the M9 Beretta. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tristin Maximilian)

Shortly after the U.S. Army adopted the M17 service pistol in 2017, new individual weapons qualifications requiring the use of Dummy, Drilled, Inert (DDI) practice rounds prior to attempting the live fire qualification course were implemented.

According to Vermont Army National Guard Warrant Officer 3 Cara Krauss, state ammunition manager, “on October 1, 2020, the new individual weapons qualification took effect for the M17 pistol, the process requires the use of Dummy, Drilled, Inert rounds which are mandatory prior to the live fire qualification course.”

It was just such an event that shed light on the M17 DDI failure to extract issue.

Force protection officers practice active shooter response

On Sept. 26-27, the Vermont National Guard hosted a first-of-its-kind active shooter response training conducted at the Vermont Army Mountain Warfare School in Jericho by state civilian force protection employees from the Vermont Army and Air National Guard as well as Air Force security forces Airmen from the 158th Fighter Wing.

Conceptualized by the Vermont National Guard's newly established Provost Marshal Office, the training aligns with statutory requirements to: "Serve as the primary liaison between the Vermont National Guard and federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies," according to Vermont State Statutes 20 and 428.

POW/MIA Remembrance Ceremony

TOP LEFT: Vermont State Guard Chaplain (Col.) Norman Boyden delivers an invocation during a POW/MIA remembrance ceremony at the Vermont National Guard Museum and Library Sept. 17. The third Friday in September is held as a day of remembrance for those who were prisoners of war or are listed as missing in action. BOTTOM LEFT: Vermont State Guard Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Bruce W. Wilkinson takes part in the remembrance ceremony by reciting a list of items that decorate a POW/MIA table display. RIGHT: Col. Justin Davis, commander of the Vermont Army National Guard's Garrison Support Command, thanks Clyde Cassidy (right) for his service after the ceremony. Cassidy served in North Africa and Italy during World War II and was held by the Nazis as a prisoner of war for 15 months. Also pictured (center) is Richard Hamilton, who was held by the Nazis at the Stalag Luft IV POW camp in Poland and endured "The March," a death march lasting 77 days during the winter of 1944-1945. (Photos by Don Branum)

Vt. Guard continues pandemic support at Medical Countermeasures Warehouse

Soldiers and Airmen of the Vermont National Guard continue to support delivery of Personal Protective Equipment and COVID-19 vaccines from the State of Vermont’s Medical Countermeasures Warehouse.

According to Vermont Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Christina McGill, “since there has been an uptick in COVID cases we have been busy preparing and sending out vaccinations from this particular warehouse, I handle the additional supplies that go along with the vaccine, such as syringes.”

Remembering Sept. 11

Vermont, N. Macedonia officials discuss expanding state partnership

The Vermont National Guard hosted a press conference Sept. 21 with North Macedonia Defense Minister Radmila Shekerinska, Vermont Lt. Gov. Molly Gray and Secretary of Commerce and Community Development Lindsay Kurrle to discuss new steps toward increased cooperation between the state and the new NATO ally.

During this press conference, hosted on the steps of the state house, the leaders described efforts to build upon a trip earlier this summer when Gray and Kurrle traveled with Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, the state adjutant general, to North Macedonia.

“What makes the National Guard State Partnership Program special is its design of pairing state national guards with host nation’s civic and military leaders, and all of them are very likely to mature within their respective organizations, so as a result you have long lasting and meaningful relationships,” said Knight. “Now, after nearly three decades of partnership we’re exploring the possibility of an enhanced economic initiative.”

158th religious affairs team hones combat skills

Staff Sgt. Taylor Specht, 158th Fighter Wing chapel readiness NCOIC, and Tech. Sgt. Ryan Brier, 158th FW chapel operations NCOIC, provide simulated cover for Capt. Wilson Treftz, 158th FW chaplain, during the Deployed Security Operations Chaplains Course, Aug. 26, 2021, at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site, Jericho, Vermont. The three-day training course was developed by 158th religious affairs and security forces Airmen as a crash course in weapons handling and familiarization, general security procedures, convoy operations and improvised explosive device recognition. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane Phipps)

Airmen with the 158th Chaplain office participated in the second annual Deployed Security Operations Chaplains Course at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, Vermont, Aug. 24-26.

This three-day training course was developed by 158th religious affairs and security forces Airmen as a crash course in weapons handling and familiarization, general security procedures, convoy operations and improvised explosive device recognition. With chaplains being deemed noncombatants, warfare training like this is particularly essential for chaplain assistants.

Silver Sabre Exercise

PRISTINA - The NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) - in cooperation with the Kosovar security institutions – carried out the 2021 edition of its annual "Silver Sabre" exercise in the Gjakova/ Đakovica air field training area and in the Erniku factory.

The exercise featured a large-scale emergency response operation, where representatives of the Kosovo Police, Red Cross, Kosovo Security Forces, Emergency Management Agency and Gjakova/ Đakovica municipality have been tested - with support from KFOR personnel - in their efforts to save lives, alleviate the distress of the local population affected by the natural disaster, maintain security, preserve the running of essential services, and prepare for the restoration of the normal situation.

3-126th Search and Rescue Simulation

TOP: Warrant Officer 1 Nick Fazio and Capt. John Lescure, Black Hawk pilots with 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, Vermont Army National Guard, fly in and touch ground to set up aviation capabilities at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site Sept. 18. Soldiers with 3-126th Aviation are working with fire and rescue professionals during the Search and Rescue simulation to provide information and understanding about aviation capabilities during a search and rescue mission. BOTTOM LEFT: Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Neskey, an instructor with the Army Mountain Warfare School, demonstrates knot tying and mountaineering safety precautions. AMWS instructors worked with fire and rescue professionals to improve their knowledge and ability to perform search-and-rescue missions in hazardous terrain. BOTTOM RIGHT: Sgt. 1st Class Chris Wheatley, an information operations NCO with the 124th Regional Training Institute, provides map training and land navigation instruction.

Freedom — That's the Best Part

The Vermont Air National Guard is proud to provide opportunities to people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, giving everyone who joins a chance to not only try a new career, but to achieve their dreams.

Meet Airman 1st Class Komalpreet Saini, a personnel specialist with the 158th Fighter Wing, who was unaware he could join the U.S. military. That’s because Saini is from India, and in 2016, he immigrated to the United States.