1st Lt. John C. Helme
Military Specialty: Signal Officer
Civilian Occupation: Math Teacher
Unit: 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry Regiment, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain)
Current Town: Burlington
Why did you join the Vermont National Guard?
I joined the Vermont National Guard for two main reasons. The first reason was that I was drawn to the idea of being part of a local part time emergency response organization that would help Vermonters during a crises. The other reason I joined the Vermont National Guard was because I was looking for some financial support while I attended college.
What do you do in the Vermont National Guard?
I am a signal officer and serve as the S6 for the 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry Regiment. My role in the unit as the S6 is to ensure that the entire unit is able to maintain communication internally and with other units using radios and digitally.
What do you do for civilian work?
I am a math teacher.
What do you think is the greatest benefit of being in the National Guard?
Diversity in my work. During the week I teach math and then one weekend a month I am in charge of communication and technology management. Having the opportunity to perform both of these jobs without much conflict between the two would not be possible any other way.
How has being a National Guard member benefited you in your local community and job?
The Vermont National Guard has allowed me to meet and become friends with a wide variety of people. These relationships have enriched my understanding of different perspectives which is a vital tool in the classroom when you have a range of students with different backgrounds.
What is your most memorable military moment?
Attending Air Assault School and repelling out of Black Hawk helicopter.
How long have you lived in Vermont?
I have lived in Vermont for 15 years and Burlington 7 years.
What is your favorite aspect of living and working where you do?
I feel that Colchester has a very strong community and a sense of unity. I have always felt very welcomed and have had many positive experiences with residents.
What do you do for work?
I teach math at Colchester Middle School.
What has surprised you about the National Guard?
I was surprised at how large the Vermont National Guard was. I had no idea prior to joining that there were so many armories spread across the state and the amount of soldiers that are in the National Guard.
How many push-ups did you get on your last PT test?
I did 68 push-ups.
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“Meet your Guard” is a new feature in the Colchester Sun, provided by the Vermont National Guard. Each month, we’ll feature another soldier or airman. Stay tuned!