Videos: Today's Military
    Air National Guard

    Just Like a Fire Department(02:24)

    In case they are needed, members of the Air National Guard are trained to react whenever the alarm sounds. The Air National Guard is responsible for air defense of the United States and can be mobilized during war, national emergencies or national disasters.

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Speaker 1: Everybody that came down here to their alert detachment knew that they were coming to an active-duty Air Force base, and they were enthusiastic to work with them. It's been a great experience being here and working with them, getting their support and giving them support when they needed it. This is the right way to do it.

Speaker 2: We're part of the nation's greater air defense system, and we have armed fighters on response at all times in any kind of weather. We have the ability to get fighters airborne in a short amount of time to get eyeballs and, if necessary, missiles onto any threat to our nation's airspace.

Speaker 1: Vermont has the experience level that's required to do an air defense mission. We have to be able to stand up and take action immediately when the klaxon goes off. We have to intercept that threat, and it becomes second nature to the men with experience.

Speaker 3: Yeah, we're just like a fire department. When the alarm goes off, no matter what you're doing, you get going, and you get to that aircraft.

Speaker 4: As soon as you hear the horn, you just, you're not really thinking about what it is. You just immediately, you know, start running towards the airplanes.

Speaker 2: The sound of that is designed specifically to incite you into action, and the jets are airborne in a short amount of time and everybody works as a coordinated team. It's fairly impressive to watch. The most rewarding aspect of this mission is the fact that it is the militia mission. Traditionally we come from a long background of militia. We come from the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont, since the Revolutionary War, and defending the homeland is our primary mission as guardsmen. And this is the tip of the spear for that. We are on a moment's notice at any time to protect our borders and our homeland, which have come under attack in recent years, so it makes it even more rewarding to do that mission and do it well, and realize that the American people rely on what we're doing here. And they can sleep at night because we're keeping them safe.

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