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Resources > History & Heritage

Click here for "First in Flight," an informative, 28-page pamphlet filled with history, "firsts" and aviation milestones at Selfridge.

Selfridge Air National Guard Base is one of the oldest continuously operating military airfields in the nation. The Michigan National Guard took possession of the former Joy Aviation Field on July 1, 1917. The first flight on what was then called Selfridge Field took place on July 8, 1917. The base has been in continuous use ever since. In 2017, it will mark 100 years of service.

The 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard is the host unit at Selfridge. The Wing's 107th Fighter Squadron traces its history to two key dates: an original organization as the 107th Aero Squadron on Aug. 27, 1917. That unit was disbanded following World War I and then reorganized as the 107th Observation Squadron on May 7, 1926, after beginning initial meetings in the summer of 1925. The Wing's 171st Air Refueling Squadron was first created as the 374th Fighter Squadron in 1943, during World War II. The modern configuration of the 127th Wing was created in 1996 by the merger of the 127th Fighter Wing and the 191st Airlift Group.

Click here for "Building a Better Base: Selfridge & the Army" a 48-page booklet created by the U.S. Army in 1996 that provides an overview of the early history of the base, with a focus on the officer housing units (400 area housing).

For fact sheets on the 107th Fighter Squadron, the 171st Air Refueling Squadron and other Air Force units at Selfridge, follow this link.

Selfridge Streets Honor Aviation Heroes
tabSelfridge Heritage Features 
Korean War aces gave Selfridge new nickname - Home of the MiG killers
Selfridge ANGB: Home of the Drop Tank
Early air show led to record-setting day - x2!
Two-War Ace Helped Dub Selfridge as "Home of the MIG Killers"
Chronicling Early History of the 107th Fighter Squadron
First WWII Ace Launched Career at Selfridge
HERITAGE SERIES: Phelps Collins: American Airman
HERITAGE SERIES: WWI Ace Was Early Leader at Selfridge Field
Ranking Top Air Force Missions
HERITAGE SERIES: 3 Chiefs Served at Selfridge
HERITAGE SERIES: The Flight of Fox Able One
HERITAGE SERIES: Historic Re-Enlistment: Oldest Man in Uniform Served at Selfridge
HERITAGE SERIES: Maughan's Visit to Selfridge Made Him the (Unofficial) Fastest Man in the World
HERITAGE SERIES: Before Court-Martial, Mitchell Set Record at Selfridge
HERITAGE SERIES: Rickenbacker Visit Highlighted Post-WWI Days at Selfridge
HERITAGE SERIES: Standing Tall During the Cuban Missile Crisis
Insignia, Patches Mark Selfridge Red Devils, A-10s
Insignia Tells The Story of 171st ARS
HERITAGE SERIES: Lackland established Selfridge as training site
HERITAGE SERIES: Andrews Gained Early Leadership Experience at Selfridge
HERITAGE SERIES: Legendary General Launched Career at Selfridge -- With a $50 Fine
Checkerboard Stripe Honors Selfridge, SAC Heritage
Cold War mission remembered
Remembering our namesake
Streamers Tell of Proud History at Selfridge
Then & Now: LOX Operations at Selfridge
WWII Ace, Detroit Native, Helped Organize Michigan ANG
'Robot Planes' at Selfridge Paved Way for Modern UAVs
Michigan's DFC: Supreme Sacrifice
Michigan's DFC: Daring Beaver Island Rescue
HERITAGE SERIES: Selfridge mud couldn't stop future USMC general
tabMichigan National Guard History 
MICHIGAN ANG CHRONOLOGY: The history of the Michigan Air National Guard officially dates from May 7, 1926, when the forerunner of today's 107th Fighter Squadron received federal recognition. This chronology, while not complete, lists major highlights and events tracked by the Air National Guard's Historian Office at ANG headquarters. This chronology primarily tracks the history of the three flying units that have historically been assigned to Michigan: the 107th and 171st, historically assigned to the Detroit area and now at Selfridge Air National Guard Base; and the 172nd, assigned to Battle Creek.

Click here for the Michigan ANG Chronology, 1926-2011.

Click here for a list of aircraft assigned to the Michigan ANG, 1926-2014.

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: The history of the Michigan National Guard pre-dates the creation of the state of Michigan by more than a century. Units of the Michigan National Guard and its predecessor organizations played key roles at many crucial points in the history of the state and of the nation. The following link provides a look at many of the events that helped shape today's Michigan National Guard by looking at events that took place on various specific dates throughout the calendar year.

This Date in History: Michigan National Guard. 
tabMichigan ANG Combat History 
     These two booklets highlight the combat operations of the units of the Michigan Air National Guard from World War I, shortly after the dawn of American military aviation, through the year 2013.
     This first booklet features 20 pages of text and photos and covers World War I, World War II and the Korean War.

The Michigan Air National Guard at War: A Combat History, 1917-1953.

     The second booklet picks up after the Korean War, and offers 28 pages of text and photos on operations on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Michigan Air National Guard at War: A Combat History, 1954-2013.

The following link is a text only version of the Michigan ANG's combat history, 1917-2013.

The Michigan ANG at War: A Combat History, 1917-2013 (text only)
tabANG Heritage 
tabAir National Guard: A Short Story 
The Air National Guard as we know it today -- a separate reserve component of the United States Air Force -- was a product of the politics of postwar planning and interservice rivalry during World War II. The men who planned and maneuvered for an independent postwar Air Force during World War II didn't place much faith in the reserves, especially the state-dominated National Guard.

Read More....
tabHistory of the ANG 
Air National Guard at 60: A HISTORY
tabHeritage Highlights 
tabNavy Reserve at Selfridge and in Metro Detroit 
     In 2015, Detroit area Sailors celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Naval Reserve.  The Navy's history in the Detroit region goes back many years before that, however, with the creation of the Michigan Naval Militia - a sort of Michigan Navy National Guard - that was established in 1893.
     Over the ensuing decades, Reserve Sailors from Detroit and around the state of Michigan have supported the fleet and nation in peace and at war.
     The Navy first arrived at Selfridge Field in 1927, but operated at the base only briefly before re-locating to Grosse Ile in the Detroit River. The Navy returned to Selfridge with the closing of Naval Air Station Grosse Ile in 1969.
     The attached 36-page booklet, Detroit's Navy, provides an overview of the history of the Navy in Detroit, along with some information on local U.S. Marine Corps Reserve operations. The booklet includes details and photos of the seven ships - including three submarines - that were homeported in Detroit and operated by the USNR over the years.

Detroit's Navy: A brief history of the U.S. Naval Reserve and the Michigan Naval Militia in southeast Michigan.
tabSelfridge Base History 

Through the early years of U.S. military aviation, the official publication Air Service (later Air Corps) Newsletter tracked the events large and small that impacted the small community of uniformed American Airmen. Through the pages of this publication, one is able to track the history and early development of what was then called Selfridge Field, as well as the units and Airmen who served there. The link below provides a look at what was news at Selfridge Field, through the first dozen years of operations at the base, as reported by Air Service Newsletter.

Click here for a list of aircraft assigned to Selfridge, 1917-2014.

Click here for Selfridge History, 1917-1929.

Click here for high-resolution version of Selfridge History graphic, above.
tabSelfridge September 11, 2001 History 
F-16 Falcons from Selfridge Air National Guard Base on station over Detroit. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by John S. Swanson)
The links below were created on the 5-year (the first link) and 10-year anniversaries of Sept. 11, 2001. The information included has not been updated since that time.
tabMichigan ANG During Korean War 
A Michigan ANG F-84 Thunderjet operates at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., during the Korean War, circa 1951. The F-84 was the first jet-powered aircraft assigned to the Michigan ANG.

All three flying squadrons of the Michigan Air National Guard were mobilized during the Korean War, the 107th and 171st fighter squadrons, both operating at the time from what is today Detroit Metro Airport; and the Battle Creek-based 172nd squadron. The two Detroit area squadrons stood up a major pilot training command in Arizona while the Battle Creek unit reported to Selfridge AFB to provide homeland air defense. A Michigan ANG aircraft control & warning squadron was sent to Maine to help protect a vital shipping port. Details on the Michigan ANG's contributions during the Korean era are at the link below.

tabSelfridge & World War II 
The World War II history of the Airmen, units and other personnel affiliated with Selfridge Air National Guard Base could and has filled many volumes of books. The links below offer a brief overview of three key units during that time period. 

Some squadrons of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, the all-Black unit which helped shatter racial stereotypes during the war, were assigned to Selfridge and to the base in Oscoda, Mich. The chronology below provides an overview of their arrival, duties and departure from Selfridge. The photo above shows Tuskegee Airmen at Selfridge planning a training mission.

An F-6A, the reconnaissance variant of the P-51 Mustang, is depicted over the coast of France in this National Guard heritage painting by William S. Phillips. The aircraft was operated by the 107th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, a Michigan Air National Guard unit which is currently assigned to Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich. The 107th flew photo reconnaissance missions over the coast in preparation for the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944. (National Guard heritage painting)
Both of the Michigan Air National Guard flying units currently assigned to Selfridge had a distinguished record of service in World War II. Those records are summarized at the links below. For information on the photo above, see the 107th Squadron link.  
tabMichigan ANG in World War I 
World War I began barely a decade after the Wright Brothers' first flight. U.S. military aviation was in its infancy when the war began. With the U.S. declaration of war in the spring of 1917, the Army began a rapid build-up of "aero squadrons" to complement the massive land forces that would be needed during the war. Among those units created in the summer of 1917 was the 107th Aero Squadron, the predecessor of today's 107th Fighter Squadron. The 107th is the only Michigan flying squadron that traces its lineage back to the World War I era. Michigan's other two flying squadrons, the 171st and 172nd, both were born of necessity during the second World War. Selfridge Field was also created in the build-up for World War I, though at that time, the field was not used by the Michigan National Guard. Through 1971, the history of Selfridge and of the Michigan Air National Guard existed on two separate tracks. The link below provides an overview of the 107th Aero Squadron's World War I story.

 Inside the 127WG

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tabSelfridge Military Air Museum
F-89 at Selfridge Military Air Museum

The Selfridge Military Air Museum's general public hours are noon - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, plus Independence Day and Memorial Day, April 4 - Oct. 31.

The Museum and Air Park can also be opened by appointment at other times throughout the year by calling 586-239-5035 or emailing info@selfridgeairmuseum.org.

New to the museum for 2015 is a fully-restored T-6 Texan, which will join the more than 30 aircraft in the outdoor air park in mid-May. Like all of the aircraft at the museum, the T-6 has a direct Michigan connection. The T-6 was flown by the Michigan Air National Guard from 1946 to 1955. The restored aircraft will be painted in Michigan ANG markings from that time period. The aircraft was restored by the museum's team of volunteers.

More than $7 million worth of aircraft displays await visitors to the museum. Highlights in the air park include a C-130 Hercules and a P-3 Orion, both of which are opened to visitors when weather and volunteer availability permit.

Indoor displays include a full-scale historically accurate replica of a World War I fighter plane, the SPAD XIII; a ¾-scale historically accurate replica of the Wright Brothers first aircraft, the Wright Flyer;" an interactive cutaway and motorized World War II aircraft engine; an interactive Air Traffic Control radar display; an extensive display of original aviation art produced by noted aviation artists; a Korean War era "Jeep", and four aircraft cockpit trainers: a modern F-16 "Fighting Falcon," a Vietnam-era A-7 "Corsair II," a World War II LINK trainer that guests can actually sit inside, and a functional LINK trainer that can be operated only by appointment and by qualified individuals.

Museum displays show a wide variety of military memorabilia including weapons, aircraft engines, military uniforms, military aircraft models, and photographs spanning the almost 100-year history of the Base.

The Museum and Air Park is located on Selfridge Air National Guard Base, accessible by vehicle only through the Main Gate at the intersection of M-59 and Jefferson Avenue. For security reasons, guests arriving in a private vehicle that is being driven by someone without a valid government identification card must register for a Visitor's Pass at the Base's Visitor's Center or Main Gate and be subjected to a background check. A current and valid driver's license, vehicle registration, and proof of vehicular insurance will be required to comply with these requirements.

The Selfridge Military Air Museum is a private non-profit organization staffed entirely by volunteers and receives no federal or state funding for the operation and maintenance of its facilities and displays. Admission is $4 per guest over the age of 12 and $3 for children between 4 and 12 years of age with a minimum donation of $25.00 for all by-appointment tours. Photographs of the interior and exterior displays are permitted for private non-commercial use only.

Further information on the Selfridge Military Air Museum and Air Park can be found on their website (www.selfridgeairmuseum.org), by mail (Selfridge Military Air Museum, 27333 C St, Bldg 1011, Selfridge ANGB MI 48045), by phone (586-239-5035), or by e-mail (info@selfridgeairmuseum.org).

 Museum Library Tracks Details of Selfridge, Aviation History

Selfridge Museum Begins Work on F-89 Restoration

World War II-Era Link Trainer Joins Museum Display

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