By: Jasper Craven, November 27, 2018
Five years ago, on Oct. 28, 2013, Lt. Col. Christopher Caputo appeared before a special session of the Burlington City Council to oppose two resolutions that could have prevented or delayed assignment of the F-35 fighter jet to the Vermont Air Guard base.
Dressed in his Air Force blues with a chest full of service ribbons, Caputo talked about his decades-long military career, from his time as a cadet at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs to his work at the Vermont National Guard as an F-16 pilot.
“[I’ve] deployed several times to Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan and East Africa, trying to do my part to protect the freedoms we all enjoy on a daily basis,” Caputo testified. As he spoke, boosters in the audience waved small, green flags in support.
Caputo was the official spokesman for the Guard’s F-35 Program Integration Office and his arguments were persuasive. While opponents of the fighter jets also spoke to the City Council, the Guard’s position prevailed, and the resolutions failed.
Yet just six months before his testimony in Burlington, Caputo faced discipline for visiting an unauthorized area during a deployment in Djibouti, a small strategically located country on the northeast coast of the Horn of Africa.