SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. – Tech. Sgt. David LaPierre has been serving in the U.S. Armed Forces for more than ten years, seven of which have been alongside an important figure in his life: his son.
“It was probably me that inspired or influenced him to join,” said David LaPierre, 158th Maintenance Group nondestructive inspection (NDI) craftsman, about his son Trevor. “I believe he wanted to do something with his life and something bigger, and he’s been enjoying it.”
David LaPierre first enlisted into the Navy before joining the Vermont Air National Guard. Now his son, Staff Sgt. Trevor LaPierre, 158th Maintenance Group low observable (LO) aircraft structural maintenance (ASM) journeyman, serves alongside him in the same fabrication branch of the 158th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS).
The LaPierres serve in complementary roles within the 158th AMXS, and often find themselves working closely together.
“We inspect the skin, they inspect the bones,” explained Trevor LaPierre, a former crew chief.
Trevor LaPierre’s father currently works in the NDI section and is tasked with verifying the structural integrity of the F-35A Lightning II. Once NDI has completed their inspections, the jet is passed along to the LO ASM Airmen like Trevor LaPierre, who inspect and repair the coatings on the exterior of the jet to maintain its stealth capabilities.
“My father works in tandem with us,” continued Trevor LaPierre. “They make sure there are no cracks or crevices deep inside that can cause degradation of the entire structure. Once [NDI] says it’s all good, we can do our job.”
The LaPierres have served alongside each other as Green Mountain Boys for nearly a decade, and most recently returned from participating in their second Red Flag exercise together.
“This is our second Red Flag together, our rooms are actually right next to each other and we didn’t even know that,” said David LaPierre.
“It’s good to be back,” his son Trevor LaPierre added. “It’s a huge privilege to be out here and serve with my father, who is also a Green Mountain Boy. I love every minute we can come out here.”
This particular deployment was to Red Flag 21-3, a three-week exercise hosted at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, on the Nevada Test and Training Range. This exercise is designed to provide aircrews the experience of multiple, intensive air combat sorties and support exercises in the safety of a realistic training environment.
Notably, this is not the first, or even the second time, that the father son duo have deployed together.
“I’ve been on probably four deployments with him now, the first one was Kuwait. That was his first trip and I was able to go with him, so that’s the most memorable,” said David LaPierre. “I feel pride to serve with my son. I love the Air National Guard and it makes it even better that we get to serve our state, where I was born and raised.”
As for Trevor LaPierre, the feeling is mutual.
“It’s been more than gratifying serving with my dad,” said Trevor LaPierre. “You don’t normally get this type of opportunity, so it’s great to serve with him, have a good time, build those skills, and have these moments together.”