AFTER 33 years of service, the last F-16s operated by the Vermont Air National Guard have left Burlington Air National Guard Base, South Burlington, Vermont. Pilots from the 158th Fighter Wing/134th Fighter Squadron ‘The Green Mountain Boys’ flew the final four F-16C Block 30s assigned to the unit out of the base yesterday, April 6, following a ‘Viper Out’ ceremony. The aircraft, comprising 86-0276, 86-0288, 86-0328 and 87-0312, will all be allocated to other units. One of them, 86-0328, had been the final F-16 to undergo a 300-hour phase inspection at the base, which was completed on August 1 last year. It was the 139th phase inspection maintenance completed by the Vermont Air National Guard since adopting the Block 30 F-16 in 2008, while it is estimated that over 360 of these inspections have been completed since the first F-16s joined the unit in 1986.
As operations with the F-16 wound down, the 158th FW performed their last joint air-to-air refuelling mission between the type and a KC-135 tanker, which was from the 157th Air Refueling Wing. The Green Mountain Boys will not be without aircraft for long, however, as they are due to begin re-equipping with the F-35A Lightning II in the autumn.