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.
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 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.
Chronology Highlights Tuskegee Airmen History at Selfridge
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.
107th Squadron World War II Overview
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.
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.
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.
Michigan ANG During the Korean War
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.
107th Aero Squadron World War I Overview
Detroit's Navy: A brief history of the U.S. Naval Reserve and the Michigan Naval Militia in southeast Michigan.
Selfridge Military Air Museum
2733 C Street
Selfridge ANGB, MI 48045
2020 Operating Season
May 16 through October
Sat-Sun 12p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Open Memorial Day & Independence Day
$5 Adults (13 years +)
$4 Seniors & Military
$3 Children (5-12 years)
Free Children (<4 years )
In 1975, the Michigan Air Guard Historical Association (MAGHA) and the Selfridge Military Air Museum were formed by a group of Air National Guard officers and enlisted personnel. The Museum's mission is to help preserve the heritage and traditions of the Michigan Air National Guard, Selfridge Air National Guard Base and the units stationed here, both past and present. More than $7 million worth of aircraft displays await visitors to the museum.
Air park includes (40 displays):
Air Park Display Index
Indoor displays include:
Selfridge Responds to Sept. 11, 2001
Selfridge 9-11 Facts & Comments
Selfridge Pilots Recall Sept. 11
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 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, 1917-1953.
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)
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.