Vermont’s Green Mountain Boys have deployed to the fight against ISIS. F-16s and about 300 airmen from the Vermont Air National Guard’s 158th Fighter Wing arrived Dec. 10 at an unmanned base in Southwest Asia in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. “We are excited to generate, execute, and sustain decisive combat airpower through this expeditionary fighter squadron,” Col. David Lyons, commander of the 407th Air Expeditionary Group, said in a news release. The deployment comes as US-backed forces and Turkish allies are advancing on Raqqa in Syria, and the Iraqi Security Forces are moving into the ISIS-held city of Mosul. US and coalition aircraft have stayed busy in the fight against ISIS, dropping 2,709 bombs in November along against ISIS in Iraqi and Syria bringing the 2016 total to 27,800 so far in 10,770 strike sorties, according to Air Forces Central Command statistics.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.