Green Mountain Guard May 2021

Cover Story:

Vermont ARNG holds sendoff for Task Force Mansfield

The Vermont Army National Guard held a sendoff ceremony May 18, 2021, at Camp Johnson, Vermont, for Soldiers assigned to Task Force Mansfield and the 172nd Public Affairs Detachment. The Soldiers are among the last of about 1,000 to deploy to U.S. European Command and U.S. Central Command to support federal missions.


Air National Guard

  • Tech. Sgt. Joseph Berteau
  • Tech. Sgt. Gabriel Courage
  • Tech. Sgt. Peter Dumont
  • Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Guilmette
  • Tech. Sgt. Jacob Humphreys
  • Tech. Sgt. Jacob Kenney
  • Tech. Sgt. Brandon Root
  • Staff Sgt. Benjamin Clark
  • Staff Sgt. Thomas Kane
  • Staff Sgt. Trevor LaPierre
  • Staff Sgt. Ian O'Brien
  • Staff Sgt. Steven Vincent
  • Senior Airman Joseph Petrock
  • Senior Airman Bradley Smith

TAG's Corner

Fallen Heroes Memorial Rededication

Gov. Phil Scott and Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, Vermont’s adjutant general, lay a wreath at the Fallen Heroes Memorial during a rededication ceremony at Camp Johnson, Vermont, May 27, 2021. The laying of flowers is custom for dedicating the graves of fallen service members as part of Memorial Day observances.

I believe it is important to understand that the Soldiers we remember during Memorial Day, and their families and loved ones, are different. Service in our military is a choice. The Soldiers we honor here today, when asked to serve, didn’t say “I can’t” or “I won’t.” Knowing the challenges, the time away from family, work or school, and, at times the danger inherent with military service, our Fallen said “I will go.” That, to me, makes them, and their families, different. We are fortunate to have them. It is our duty to remember our Fallen, support their families, and know that we are their legacy. We should share their story as we are standing on their shoulders. They were Americans, unified with the common purpose of serving others, and making the world a better place while wearing the cloth of our nation. They were certainly a part of something much larger than themselves. Our Soldiers gave their lives in order to make freedom a possibility for others, strangers to them in a foreign land.

The Vermont National Guard held a Memorial Day observance and re-dedication ceremony for the Fallen Heroes Memorial at Camp Johnson May 27, 2021. Featured speakers included former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (bottom center) and current Gov. Phil Scott (bottom left). Grace Kafferlin (bottom right), the daughter of Maj. Kurt Kafferlin, the state staff judge advocate, read from "A Memorial for the Soldiers" by James Whitcomb Riley. A three-round volley, the playing of Taps, and a flyover from the 158th Fighter Wing concluded the observance.

Vermont Airman honored during EMS week

Staff Sgt. Nathan Bourn, a munitions specialist at the Vermont Air National Guard’s 158th Fighter Wing, is one first responder who has striven to live up to what this year’s theme is all about.

Bourn, an assistant fire chief with the Poultney, Vermont volunteer fire department, was the first to arrive on the scene of an active fire on April 3, 2021. Bourn discovered the garage quickly filling with smoke and found that the door to the main house was locked.

Knowing he had to find a way in before the fire spread from the garage, he took immediate action.

Top: Staff Sgt. Nathan Bourn, a munitions specialist assigned to the 158th Fighter Wing, is recognized by Beth Saradarian, executive director of the Rutland County Humane Society at the Poultney Fire Department May 4, 2021. Bourn, an assistant fire chief with the department, rescued six dogs during a house fire in April. (Courtesy photo, Poultney Fire Department)

Anshan native trades Qianshan Mountain for Green Mountains

Spc. Mike Liu stands for a photo in front of the 124th Regional Training Institute at Camp Johnson, Vermont, May 20, 2021. Liu, a native of Anshan, China, joined the Vermont Army National Guard through the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program, which allows non-U.S. citizens with certain skills to enlist and apply for citizenship. He currently attends Army Officer Candidate School and plans to become an ordnance officer when he graduates in 2022.

Anshan, China, the city where Spc. Mike Liu with Bravo Company, 186th Brigade Support Battalion was born, is about a seven-hour drive east of Beijing. It’s a modern city of 3.5 million people with towering skyscrapers that sort of make it look like Chicago. Unlike the wind city though, Qianshan Mountain is just off to the horizon offering spectacular views of jagged peaks that earned it the nickname of the mountain of a thousand lotus flowers.

With all of its beauty and amenities, Anshan is a far cry from the mid-region of China where Mike’s father used to live. Mike remembers visiting his father’s countryside town. It had no running water and limited electricity. Perhaps it was this modest lifestyle that motivated Mike’s father to work hard, get a good education, and become a lawyer. Turning life around was certainly no easy feat, especially since his father was the first ever to earn a college degree, much less a law degree.

2021 Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award winner recognized in D.C.

Tech. Sgt. Kirby Addison, a special emphasis program manager for the 158th Fighter Wing, Vermont Air National Guard, was invited to Washington, D.C., after receiving the 2021 Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People earlier this year.

Addison, a full-time radio frequency transmission technician and quality assurance NCO assigned to the 158th communications flight, said he stepped into the additional role of special emphasis program manager in the wake of racial and societal tension after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, and was invited to D.C. in acknowledgement of the work and dedication he has since put into that role.

Vermont seeks to build on partnership with North Macedonia

Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, Vermont's adjutant general, gives opening remarks during a press conference May 27, 2021. Knight, along with Lt. Gov. Molly Gray (right) and Lindsay Kurrle (left), Vermont's secretary of commerce and community development, will spend several days in North Macedonia discussing expansion of the current State Partnership Program to include economic development opportunities.

Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, the state adjutant general, will travel to North Macedonia May 29, accompanied by Vermont Lt. Gov. Molly Gray and Lindsay Kurrle, the state secretary of commerce and community development, to discuss how the state might build upon the existing State Partnership Program into economic areas.

Knight said the similarities in climate, topography, and economic interest between North Macedonia and Vermont could offer significant mutual benefits to both parties.

VTANG participates in F-35 acoustics, emissions testing

In April, aircraft and personnel assigned to both the 134th Fighter Squadron and 158th Maintenance Group, Vermont Air National Guard, travelled to the 48th Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, to perform tests alongside their Airmen, personnel from the F-35 Joint Program Office and members of the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Tests and evaluations were conducted to collect acoustic and bioenvironmental data in protective aircraft shelters specific to the F-35A Lightning II. Aircraft were run for two days in different shelters, while the rest of the two-week visit involved equipment set-up and test calibration.

Here to Help: Vermont DPH Prioritizes Mental Well-Being

Trish Soter, Director of Psychological Health, assigned to the 158th Fighter Wing, poses with the base therapy dog, Beau, at the Vermont Air National Guard Base May 13, 2021. Soter provides support to members and their families including help with daily life stressors to full-blown crises. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Richard D. Mekkri)

One of the mental health advocates available to guard members and their families is Trish Soter, the director of psychological health at the 158th Fighter Wing, Vermont Air National Guard. Soter, who earned her masters degree in social work from the University of Vermont and a dual degree in social work and sociology from Castleton State College (now Castleton University), has been passionate about helping military members since her time as an undergraduate.

“Society puts a lot of focus on our physical health and well-being,” said Soter. “Whether it's going to a gym or going to the doctor, there's no stigma if you call out sick because you have a fever or sore throat.”

Vermont Air National Guard On Drill