Name: Master Sgt. Jonathan Jacobs
Military Specialty: 2W171 Aircraft Armament Systems Technician
Years of Service: 16+
Unit: 158th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 158th Maintenance Group, 158th Fighter Wing
Hometown: Richford, VT
Current Town: Essex Junction
High School/Graduation Year: 1995
College/Graduation: 2001

Q. Why did you join the National Guard?
A. My main reason for joining was to help pay off college loans. My secondary reason, I had a Baccalaureate degree in Accounting, but I wasn’t using my degree, so I was hoping to learn something that would help me in the civilian world or get a full-time job with the National Guard (which I later got).

Q. What do you do in the Vermont National Guard?
A. I am a Weapons Troop. I load/unload the aircraft, perform all scheduled maintenance on the weapons’ system and troubleshoot any problems associated with the weapons’ system and the suspension equipment that carry the weapons. I also teach and train people on how to load.

Q. What do you think is the greatest benefit of being in the National Guard?
A. Having the opportunity to help keep the country safe for everyone. If we are talking pure benefits, I think the new free in state tuition is a fantastic benefit for all people who are currently in or are considering joining the unit.

Q. How has being a National Guard member benefited you in your local community and job?
A. I’m not sure how to answer this one?

Q. What is your most memorable military moment?
A. I got an incentive flight in an F-16 for winning a Load Crew of the Year competition. It was amazing!

Q. How long have you lived in Vermont?
A. My whole life.

Q. What is your favorite aspect of living or working where you do?
A. I like the fact that most of Vermont is rural. Chittenden County is still rural compared to many of the other bases that I have been to.

Q. What has surprised you about the Vermont National Guard?
A. It seems like no matter what obstacles lie in front of us, the great people of the unit overcome and tackle them with ease.

Q. What is your favorite part about serving in the Vermont National Guard?
A. Back to my previous answer. I love having the opportunity to volunteer for deployments which help keep everyone in the country safe.

Q. How many push-ups did you get on your last physical fitness test?
A. I don’t remember exactly. I maxed out for my age. It was over 50.

BONUS: Ask a question for the next Soldier or Airmen?

Q. Would you recommend the Vermont Air National Guard to new graduates coming out of High School and why?

A. I definitely would and am currently trying to talk my daughter into it and her friends. The benefits are wonderful and the pride you get from serving your country is unmatched. It is a great way to start your life. I went to college first and started my life in the negative. Why not join the National Guard or active-duty military and start your adult life in the positive. It sure makes life a lot easier as a young adult entering the work force. And to top it all off, the military, whether National Guard or active duty, encourages and helps people to go to school!

 

Master Sgt. Jonathan Davis, (right), poses for a photograph with his team after winning the award for Load Crew of the Year.

 

Name: Senior Master Sgt. Jonathan Brownell
Military Specialty: 2S000 Logistics Readiness Superintendent
Years of Service: 27
Unit: 158th Fighter Wing Logistics Readiness Squadron
Hometown: Bellows Falls, Vt.
Current Town: Essex Junction, Vt.
High School/Graduation Year: 1990
College/Graduation: Vermont Technical College 1999 A.S. Electrical Engineering, Champlain College 2011 BS Software Engineering and Champlain College 2018 MS Executive Leadership

Q. Why did you join the Vermont National Guard?
A. I joined the Vermont Army National Guard in Westminster Vermont following in the footsteps of my two older brothers. I later joined the Vermont Air National Guard after the September 11th attacks in 2001.

Q. What do you do in the Vermont National Guard?
A. I am currently the Logistics Readiness Superintendent for the 158th FW.

Q. What do you do for civilian work?
A. I worked at IBM as a Senior IT Consultant for 16 years and joined the 158th FW fulltime in 2015 to assist with the base with its conversion to the F-35 airframe.

Q. What do you think is the greatest benefit of being in the National Guard?
A. In order to live life to the fullest, you must live with passion and serve a cause greater than yourself. I found that being a member of the Guard has afforded me the opportunity to serve my country and my fellow citizens. I am a servant to my neighbors, my family, and my fellow Airmen.

Q. How has being a National Guard member benefited you in your local community and job?
A. The Vermont National Guard has instilled a service before self-attitude that I hold dear to this day. The Guard has consistently challenged me at every turn and pushed me to achieve objectives that I never dreamt possible.

Q. What is your most memorable military moment?
A. The day I graduated from military boot camp at Fort Dix, N.J.. After several weeks of structured education both physical and mental, confidence in myself and my abilities came to life.

Q. How long have you lived in Vermont?
A. I am a graduate of Bellows Falls Union High School in Bellows Falls, VT. I have lived in Vermont my entire adult life, 39 years now.

Q. What is your favorite aspect of living or working where you do?
A. First and foremost I love Vermont. I have traveled to different parts of the county and abroad, but always look forward to coming home. As a squadron superintendent, I enjoy helping other Airmen realize their full potential and the amazing things they can accomplish. Watching our Airmen grow and achieve objectives never before imagined has been the most rewarding thing about my job.

Q. What has surprised you about the Vermont National Guard?
A. Having experienced tremendous loss in my life, the Guard was there to see me through. The sense of family and support was amazing, I never realized the impact the fantastic personnel would have on me.

Q. What is your favorite part about serving in the VT National Guard?
A. Service to the people of this great state is my favorite part of being in the guard. Certainly money is not a driving factor here for me, but knowing that I represent the citizenry of this state is the driving force that keeps me coming back.

Q. How many push-ups did you get on your last physical fitness test?
A. 52