Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Riley, vehicle operations and ground transportation, 158th Fighter Wing (courtesy photo)

Sgt. Nicholas Riley
Military Specialty: 2T171
Vehicle Operations/Ground Transportation

Years of Service: 7
Unit: 158th Fighter Wing, Logistics Readiness Squadron
Hometown: Colchester, Vt.
Current Town: Colchester, Vt.
High School/Graduation Year: Colchester High School 2011
College/Graduation: Criminal Justice, Champlain College

Why did you join the Vermont National Guard?
I joined the Vermont Air National Guard, right after high school. I joined for real world experience as a security forces member (military police). I had my sights set on become a local police officer after studying criminal justice at Champlain College in Burlington. Joining the Air Guard regardless of the job selected, provides real world experience that many college students would not experience for many years. Making myself more marketable for a civilian job. With these experiences starting day 1 at basic training all the way through technical school and on the job work. It helped me mature in so many ways, gave me so many opportunities that I would not have the chance to be a part of in the civilian world. Looking back, there are numerous reason why joining the Vermont Air Guard was the best decision I made.

What do you do in the Vermont National Guard?
Currently I work in the Vehicle Operations Section of the Logistics Readiness Squadron as the full time supervisor. Day to day operations consist of training members on different motor vehicles to ensure our state and federal missions can be completed. Along with issuing government driver’s license, dispatching vehicles, and conducting daily deliveries of high priority F-16 parts throughout the wing.

What do you do for civilian work?
I work at the VTANG fulltime! I am also a part-time DJ for Top Hat Entertainment. I am very much a people person and love being out in the community!

What do you think is the greatest benefit of being in the National Guard?
After being a part of such an amazing organization for only seven short years, I can say that there are numerous benefits that make the Vermont Air National Guard a well worth career choice. With that being said, the greatest benefit of being in Vermont Air Guard is knowing how our daily tasks, and mission contribute so much to the community, state and our country. The Air Guard is very lucky to have two missions, a State and Federal Mission.

Our state mission is ensuring our community is taken care of. Assisting in mobilizing of Airmen to assist with natural disasters at a moment’s notice, helping out neighbors in a time of need. We are the Green Mountain Boys and a very proud of our local community.

Our federal mission is also extremely important, ensuring at a moment’s notice we are ready to aid and respond to whatever threat is currently threatening our great nation. Whether it be our expedited response and protection of our coast after the 9/11 attacks or being deployed around the world ensuring the fight for freedoms are conducted correctly. The Green Mountain Boy name is known around the world, we get the job done like no other and ensure our community and country are taken care of. Knowing all these things that the Vermont Air Guard is a part of makes me know, I’m a part of the big picture. I’m helping to make a difference. With the F-35’s arrival in the near future it is extremely important that each of us know our role in ensuring we keep working toward being the best Air National Guard we can be.

How has being a National Guard member benefited you in your local community and job?
The Vermont Air National Guard has benefited me in the local community showing me how to really appreciate everything we have. As a young child, I thought the way things were the way they were, just because. As the years have gone on, I have realized the reason we have these great things is because of men and women in the service across the country. It has encouraged me to share the story of the Green Mountain Boys and all the amazing things we have accomplished. A true appreciation for these Green Mountains.

What is your most memorable military moment?
My most memorable military moment came at age 19. Our federal mission has a partnership with Senegal Africa. The President of Senegal came to Vermont to shadow our government systems, health systems and learn about our military operations as well. I was selected to be a driver for some of the president’s cabinet. At age 19 I was in an official police motorcade with U.S. Secret Service, FBI, State and Local Police as well as Senegalese Secret Service. This was my first real mission, with everything to prove. I worked hard in preparation and knocked it out of the park. These were the real world experiences I was looking for when I joined.

How long have you lived in Vermont?
I have lived in Vermont my entire life. I grew up in Colchester, have lived in Essex and South Burlington. While having the opportunities to travel all cross the country with the men and women of the Vermont Air Guard.

What is your favorite aspect of living or working where you do?
My favorite aspect of living and working where I do is the beauty! Colchester is such a beautiful town and being able to grow up in such a beautiful area with Lake Champlain is truly amazing. The beauty of the Fighter Wing? The world class sound of freedom. We have such high performing members and machines it has its very own beauty!

What has surprised you about the Vermont National Guard?
The biggest thing that surprised me about the Vermont Air Guard was the family feel. You always hear “We are a big family here”, everywhere you go and really don’t think too much about it. Here at the VTANG, we are a giant family. Always there supporting each other whenever anyone needs anything. The support systems in place for every member is beyond amazing.

What is your favorite part about serving in the VT National Guard?
My favorite part about serving in the Vermont Air National Guards is being a part of the world’s best Air Force as well as being enlisted in one of the highest performing Air National Guard bases in the country. The sense of purpose and knowing all the great things the Vermont Guard does is a great thing to be a part of!

How many push-ups did you get on your last physical fitness test?
56

BONUS: Ask a question for the next soldier or airman.
Where do you see yourself within the National Guard in 5-10 years?

“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!