Military Aviation

Vermont ANG Commander fired after using an F-16 for romantic rendezvous

“Look forward to seeing the real deal in person soon!” Vermont ANG Col. Thomas Jackman wrote shortly before embarking on his trip

As three former Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG) members told to, VTANG Col. Thomas Jackman used an F-16 supersonic jet “for a work trip that doubled as a romantic rendezvous with a female Army colonel who worked at the Pentagon.”

Actually after two months of flirting with a military officer who worked in Washington, D.C., by phone and email, Jackman took flight from Vermont on Jan. 27, 2015. An email speaking of a “reunion” implied Jackson and his paramour had met in person though she also sent photos to the pilot.

“Look forward to seeing the real deal in person soon!” he wrote back shortly before embarking on his trip.

Noteworthy Jackman found his way to the nation’s capital just the same despite a brief exchange where the anxious pilot feared bad weather might delay his plans. It’s unclear whether he flew into Andrews of Langley Air Force Base in suburban D.C. Snow storms along the east coast complicated arrivals throughout the day.

Jackman’s alleged call to booty quickly went south when his superiors reportedly learned he was in D.C. with an F-16.

According to the report, “Jackman was ordered to fly home on a commercial flight.” The reports also says that a senior officer traveled from Burlington to Washington to retrieve Jackman’s borrowed F-16 and bring it back to Vermont.

Jackman was demoted from his position as wing commander and submitted his resignation (which allowed him to maintain retirement pay and benefits) following the incident.

The 55-year-old pilot, who is married, denied being in a romantic relationship with the unnamed Army colonel, but declined to comment on the events leading to his resignation.

There was no comment from VTANG, though a spokesperson told it is “not common practice” for a pilot to take a fighter jet to a work conference, which Jackman said was his reason for going to D.C.

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-16C Fighting Falcon 158th FW, 134th FS, 86-0336

D.C is roughly 500 miles from Burlington. The hourly operating cost for an F-16, which reaches a top speed of 1,500 miles an hour, is approximately $8,000.

Photo credit: Senior Airman Chris Drzazgowski / U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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