Vermont Accepts F35s; Prepares to become a Bombing Target

April 14th, 2023 - by James Marc Leas / Cancel the F-35:

Vermont Announces Exercise Responding to
“Simulated” Military Strike on the BTV Base 
James Marc Leas / Cancel the F-35:

(April 10, 2023) — If you believe that the presence of the F-35 jets did not make the Burlington International Airport (BTV) into a high-value military target, your argument is not with It is with the Vermont Air National Guard itself.

The Guard is not just saying this with words. It demonstrated its concern about such a military attack with action. The Vermont Air National Guard just finished a week-long exercise scenario practicing response to a military strike that destroyed its military base at the airport in South Burlington and destroyed the runway.

A large group of Air Guard members departed from Vermont on a C-17A transport aircraft to a forward operating location and were deployed there dropping inert 2000-pound bombs on targets.

The exercise was designed to prepare members of the Vermont Air National Guard for “cyber attacks and new drone missile attacks” on the BTV airport. A news release issued on Friday April 7 by the Vermont Air National Guard described the anticipated damage from the attacks: “During the exercise scenario at the South Burlington Air National Guard base, buildings lost power, infrastructure was disabled and runways were bombed, requiring the 158th to conduct missions from a forward operating location.”

The F-35 base takes up 1/4 of the grounds of BTV, a heavily-used civilian airport in one of the most densely populated cities in Vermont. Unmentioned in that Guard news release were the foreseeable number of airport passengers, airport workers, city residents and children at local schools expected to be killed or wounded by the attacking weapons.

As was the anticipated suffering of surviving civilians from the foreseeable release of toxic chemicals, fibers, and particulates as tens of thousands of pounds of the carbon-composite F-35 jet bodies bombed in the attack would foreseeably be left burning amidst the city full of civilians.

Also omitted from the news release was the number of civilian casualties and civilian property damage in the foreseeable event that the weapons attacking the F-35 jets include nuclear bombs. As shown in a map here, the destruction from a single such nuclear bomb extends over 3 cities and 4 towns around the airport, where tens of thousands of Vermonters and their property would be hit with blast, fire storm, and radiation.

Also unmentioned in the news release was the fact that the positioning of such military assets as F-35 jets in a populated area is illegal under the military’s most fundamental regulations. Locating a high-value weapon like the F-35, which was designed for supersonic, stealth delivery of two B61-12 nuclear bombs on enemy targets, within a city violates Department of Defense Directive 2311.01 and its requirement for “distinction.” This military regulation requires separation of military forces and military equipment from populated areas.

Furthermore, positioning such offensive military assets as the F-35 jets in a city inherently uses tens of thousands of Vermonters who live, work, or go to school near the runway as human shields for the F-35. Such human shielding is a federal crime.

Under international law, enemy forces cannot be charged with violating the law of war if they attack such a human-shielded military asset, no matter the consequences for civilians. The blame for the war crime falls squarely on the persons responsible for using the civilians for human shielding, and one of those person is the Governor of Vermont, Phil Scott.

Now that the Vermont Air National Guard has put out its news release announcing that it completed a full week of exercises to ready airmen for a military attack on BTV airport, the possibility of such an attack can no more be ignored or neglected.

As reporting by large broadcast, online, and print news media can help put a stop to this heinous abuse, is looking forward to no longer being the only news media reporting the following facts:

  • The presence of the F-35 makes the airport a legitimate target for a military attack.
  • The Vermont Air National Guard admitted as much with its just completed week-long exercise and news release.
  • The state’s political and military leaders are inherently using Vermonters in cities and towns surrounding the airport as human shields for the F-35.
  • The city location for the F-35 is illegal. The location violates the military’s own discipline and federal law.
  • The city location for F-35 “training” is also flawed for another reason—use of a city location inherently trains airmen to ignore and to violate fundamental military discipline. It’s counter-training. It’s the opposite of training.
  • The city location is not a military necessity. It is depraved neglect on steroids. Continued “training” of airmen in a city will get airmen so used to hurting civilians that they cannot be counted on to refuse illegal orders to commit war crimes when they are called up for combat.

As the proxy war with Russia in Ukraine escalates, and as war with China is increasingly on the horizon, the Vermont Air National Guard has, to its credit, formally recognized and announced the fact that its F-35 base and the runway at BTV may be targeted and bombed. But such precise and limited targeting by distant enemy forces as their news release anticipated cannot be relied upon.

The news release announcing the week-long military exercise demonstrates the absolute necessity for the Guard to comply with and to enforce the military discipline that protects civilians.

That discipline requires the intermingling of the F-35 jets with densely populated areas to stop. It requires the immediate transfer of the F-35 jets out of the City of South Burlington and away from any populated area. Such a transfer will protect the public and restore the Vermont National Guard to conformance with its own discipline.

State and Local Governments Have the Power
Under the US Constitution and federal law, the states have control of the training of their own state national guard according to Department of Defense discipline that protects civilians. That discipline is blatantly violated by conducting the training with such-high-value military equipment as F-35 jets in a populated area.

In Vermont, the Governor is the one responsible for giving the illegal order to conduct the daily F-35 flights in the city location. But the Vermont House and Senate and city councils and town selectboards each have authority and responsibility to apply checks and balances, particularly when such serious violations at the hands of the governor are ongoing.

City councils and selectboards have state-delegated authority to adopt ordinances “to regulate the operation and use of vehicles of every kind” so as “to promote the public health, safety, welfare, and convenience.” They can hold hearings. They can ask questions. They can hold governor and commanders to account. As the military exercise and Guard news release make unmistakably clear: action to enforce the constitution, the military discipline, and the rule of law is needed now.

ACTIONS for Vermonters:
Write or call your public servants and demand an immediate halt to F-35 training in cities.

Governor Phil Scott 802-828-3333 Chief of Staff <>

Vermont National Guard’s Complaint Line: 802-660-5379 (Note: the Vermont Guard told a reporter that it received over 1400 noise complaints. But the Guard won’t release what people said).

You can submit a report/complaint to the still-active Fall 2021-Continuing Now online F-35 Report & Complaint Form:

See all the graphs and in-your-own words statements on the F-35 Spring-Summer 2021 Report & Complaint Form (513 responses):

See links to the graphs and in-your-own words statements on all four versions of the F-35 Report & Complaint Form since Spring 2020, with a total of 1670 responses from 658 different people plus 77 more so far on the form that remains active now.

Political Contacts
Senator Bernie Sanders 800-339-9834 <>

Senator Peter Welch 888-605-7270 Chief of Staff <>

Rep. Becca Balint <>

Burlington City Council <>

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger <>

Winooski Mayor Kristine Lott <>

Burlington City Council Chair Helen Riehle<>

Williston Selectboard Chair Terry Macaig <>

VT Senate President Philip Baruth <>

VT House Speaker Jill Krowinski <>

Attorney General Charity Clark <>

States Attorney Sarah George <>

Vermont’s Federal Prosecutor <>

Adjutant General Brig Gen Gregory C Knight <>

Major J Scott Detweiler <>

Wing Commander Col Dan Finnegan <>

Vermont National Guard Inspector General Lt. Col. Edward J Soychak <>

US Air Force Inspector General Lt. Col. Pamela D. Koppelmann <>

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall <>