Burlington Air National Guard Base
|Burlington Air National Guard Base|
|Part of Vermont Air National Guard (VT ANG)|
|Located near: Burlington, Vermont|
|Two U.S. Air Force General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon fighters (s/n 83-1159, 84-1275) from the 134th Fighter Squadron, 158th Fighter Wing, Vermont Air National Guard|
|Controlled by||United States Air Force|
|Garrison||158th Fighter Wing|
|IATA: BTV – ICAO: KBTV – FAA LID: BTV|
|Elevation AMSL||335 ft / 102 m|
- For the United States Army observation airfield, see Ethan Allen Army Airfield
Burlington Air National Guard Base is an Air National Guard installation located in South Burlington, Vermont. It operated as an active duty U.S. Air Force installation from the early 1950s until 1960 as Ethan Allen Air Force Base. Following the closure of Ethan Allen AFB, the installation was transferred to the Vermont Air National Guard for use as an Air National Guard base. The facility operates alongside Burlington International Airport.
- 134th Fighter Squadron (F-16 C/D Fighting Falcon)
Ethan Allen Air Force Base
The origins of Burlington Air National Guard Base start on 10 February 1951 with the assignment by Air Defense Command (ADC) of the 134th Fighter Squadron (Single Engine) to Burlington Airport. Equipped with F-51D Mustangs, the personnel and equipment of the squadron was drawn from the Federalized Massachusetts Air National Guard's 101st Fighter-Interceptor Wing. The mission of the squadron was air defense of northern New England. The squadron was reassigned to the ADC's 23d Fighter-Interceptor Wing at Presque Isle AFB, Maine on 1 April 1951.
The 134th was reassigned to the ADC's 4711th Defense Wing on 6 February 1952 at Presque Isle AFB. It was released from active duty and returned to control of State of Vermont on 1 November 1952. With the release of the Air National Guardsmen from federal service, Ethan Allen Air Force Base was activated by ADC on the north side of Burlington Airport on 16 February 1953. Air Defense Command assigned the 517th Air Defense Group as the host unit.
The 134th was replaced by the ADC's 37th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron on 1 November 1952. With Ethan Allen AFB becoming an active duty ADC installation, the squadron's aircraft were upgraded to the F-86D Sabre Interceptor on 16 June 1953. The 517th Air Defense Group was re-designated as the 14th Fighter Group (Air Defense) on 20 June 1955, remaining under the 4711th ADW.
On 1 March 1956, the parent unit of the 14th Fighter Group was changed to the ADC's 32d Air Division, and the 37th FIS was upgraded to the Convair F-102A Delta Dagger in December 1957. ADC closed Ethan Allen AFB on 1 May 1960 due to budget constraints and the 14th Fighter Group and its components were inactivated.
Air National Guard use
With its release from active duty, the Vermont Air National Guard's 134th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (134 FIS) began operating out of the old airport administration building and the wooden hangar next to it, receiving its first T-33 Shooting Star. This was the beginning of the conversion to the F-94 Starfire, an all-weather two seat fighter. The Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont Air Guard units began holding summer camp at Otis Air Force Base after they began flying F-94s.
With the inactivation of the active-duty 14th Fighter Group, the 134th was reorganized as the 158th Fighter Interceptor Group (158 FIG) in mid-1960 and was placed under Air Defense Command (ADC) as an associate unit. The Air National Guard now manned alert hangars 24 hours a day. In the summer of 1960, summer field training was conducted at Otis Air Force Base at Cape Cod, MA, from 18 June to 2 July. When the unit returned to Burlington, the Maintenance and Operations Squadrons immediately moved into the facilities that had been vacated by the Regular Air Force with the closure of Ethan Allen AFB.
The rest of the 158 FIG remained on the Williston Road side of the airfield and military vehicles were allowed to cross the east end of the runway to transport personnel and materials after receiving clearance from the tower. Upgraded to the F-89 Scorpion in 1962, The Vermont Air National Guard received the ADC Operational Readiness award in October 1962, for having the greatest degree of readiness of any F-89 unit in the country.
The 158th Fighter Interceptor Group became the 158th Defense Systems Evaluation Group (158 DSEG) in June 1974, with the unit receiving twenty EB-57 Canberras. These two-seat, twin-engine aircraft were equipped with electronic counter-measures and chaff emitting equipment. The new mission was to act as the "friendly enemy" to evaluate both air and ground radar systems. This mission took pilots, electronic warfare officers, and maintenance personnel all over the United States, Canada, and as far as Iceland, South Korea, and Japan. The unit provided direct operational training of now-Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) and Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) aircrews in the accomplishment of their mission when their systems were severely degraded as might be expected during an attack by enemy offensive aircraft.
With the disestablishment of ADC, the 158th was subsequently transferred to Tactical Air Command (TAC) as a gaining command under that porttion of TAC known as ADTAC for "Air Defense - Tactical Air Command. In 1980, the 158th began a transition to the F-4D Phantom, a powerful, two seat, twin-engine fighter, with the Vermont Air National Guard, leaving the Air Defense community to become part of main line Tactical Air Command (TAC) with a primary mission of ground attack and close air support and a secondary mission of air superiority.
On 1 April 1986, the flight line of the Green Mountain Boys changed with the arrival of the F-16 Fighting Falcon. With the disestablishment of TAC, the unit became part of Air Combat Command (ACC) in 1992.
In 2014 the Honorable Thomas Walsh, Environmental Judge denied a motion to have an environmental review before operating the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II at the base. The F-35 is four times as loud as the "less stealthy" aircraft it replaces. The 158th Fighter Wing plans to overcome the noise issue by avoiding using the afterburner and instead fly the aircraft very lightly loaded, and not conducting low level training flights. The Northwestern Vermont Board of Realtors has advised real estate agents to warn potential customers about the noise hazard.
- A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980, by Lloyd H. Cornett and Mildred W. Johnson, Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
- 158th FW History
- Vermont Superior Court Environmental Division
- Charns, David (13 May 2014). "Environmental court judge denies F-35 opponents' permit request". www.wptz.com (WPTZ). Retrieved 14 May 2014.
- Alaimo, Carol Ann. "Noisy F-35 Still Without A Home." Arizona Daily Star, 30 November 2008. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
- Wertlieb, Mitch; Bodette, Melody (29 May 2014). "No Specifics Yet, But Vermont Guard Promises To Mitigate F-35 Noise". digital.vpr.net (Vermont Public Radio). Retrieved 29 May 2014.
- Sharp, David (29 May 2014). "Guard: No Low-Altitude Training For Noisy F-35 Fighter Jets In Maine". boston.cbslocal.com (AP). Retrieved 29 May 2014.
- Baird, Joel (14 October 2014). "Realtors: F-35 noise warrants disclosures". www.burlingtonfreepress.com (Free Press). Retrieved 15 October 2014.