Vermont National Guard

Senator Leahy boards a helicopter to tour flood damage from Tropical Storm Irene.

Vermont has a long citizen-soldier tradition that goes back to the nation's founding, when Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys fought to take Ticonderoga and helped guarantee our independence. The Vermont National Guard—made up of the Army and Air National Guards—represents one of the highest per capita participation rates of any state in the country. Even before 9/11, the Vermont National Guard was a proven asset to the state and the entire country. Vermonters have played key roles in both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm.

The National Guard is our nation's primary military reserve, ready to deploy quickly anywhere in the world in defense of our country. The highly-trained men and women of the Guard are also available to serve under the command of the nation's governors during state emergencies. Over 500,000 private citizens across the country forgo their weekends and summer vacations to train with their units. In the “minuteman” tradition, they are ready to answer the time-honored call to duty on short notice, and they have answered that call with increasing frequency over the past decade.

Vermont Guardsmen Ready to Respond

The Vermont Army National Guard is a valuable force to Vermont and the country.  Whether serving as a lifeline to isolated communities after Hurricane Irene, helping neighboring states respond to winter weather disasters, providing airspace control over the northeastern United States, or supporting partners in conflict zones on the opposite side of the world, Vermont’s citizen soldiers and citizen airmen stand ready to make a difference.

Senator Leahy has tirelessly worked to improve the facilities, equipment and training for the Vermont National Guard so that the men and women who serve and their families can be confident they have the support needed to answer the call, and so that the Green Mountain Boys stay relevant in the nation’s defense for decades to come. He is immensely proud of their record of excellence, nationally recognized by a Meritorious Unit Commendation for the Vermont Army National Guard and the selection of the Vermont Air National Guard as the second operator in the U.S. Air Force of its most advanced fighter aircraft.

U.S. Senate National Guard Caucus and Guard Empowerment

Senator Leahy is the co-chair of the U.S. Senate National Guard Caucus, an influential group of more than 80 Senators dedicated to promoting a strong and ready National Guard. In this role, Senator Leahy worked to pass several National Guard Empowerment bills that added provisions to the National Defense Authorization Act elevating the status of the National Guard within the Department of Defense. These changes reflect the increasingly critical role the National Guard serves in our nation's defense. The reforms passed due to Senator Leahy’s efforts include promoting the Chief of the National Guard Bureau from a three-star general to a four-star general, establishing the Chief of the National Guard Bureau as a permanent member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, authorizing further funding for domestic Guard operations and increasing the Guard’s representation in the leadership of U.S. Northern Command, among others.

Today, we ask our Guard to take on more challenges than ever. The Guard is called on more and more frequently at home, in addition to being relied upon heavily as operational reserve forces overseas where they have fought, and continue fighting, on the front lines alongside their active duty counterparts. Senator Leahy remains committed to ensuring that the Guard remains able to fulfill its role as the most cost effective military tool for our homeland and national defense.

As a Guard champion, Senator Leahy was honored to receive awards like the George Washington Award from the Adjutants General of the United States, the Minuteman and Eagle Awards from the Enlisted Association of the National Guard and the Harry S. Truman Award from the National Guard Association of the United States. Senator Leahy is proud to fight for the Vermont Guard, because it embodies the spirit of service that has always been a hallmark of Vermonters. The Vermont National Guard is truly one of the gems of the United States military, always ready to sacrifice to protect our nation.