Operations Group moves to new facility

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  • By 127th Public Affairs
The A-10 Thunderbolt II, or "Warthog", operators have a new home in which to hang their helmets at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

The 127th Operations Group, which provides pilots, intelligence, flight equipment, and other support personnel to the fighter aircraft mission associated with the 127th Wing, has moved into a new facility on the base and held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on February 22.

The new "Ops" Building, Building 34, is in the same location as the previous facility aligned with a string of aircraft hangars which were some of the first permanent structures on the base. The building hosts the Operations Group command staff, the 107th Fighter Squadron and the 127th Operations Support Flight.

The total cost of the project was approximately $6.6 million. Design was completed by CH2M Hill or Corvallis, Oregon, and construction was performed by Rock Industries of Pontiac, Mich.

"I guarantee this new facility will pay dividends to all those soldiers and Marines who will call on us when their lives get tough and we can be overhead in an A-10 for them," said Col. Douglas Champagne, commander of the Operations Group. "We can be there for them because we've had the opportunity to have the best training environment an A-10 squadron can have in all of the Air Force."

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, was among the many dignitaries at the event.

"This is part of a long string of facility improvements at Selfridge of about $75 million since 2001. This base deserves this investment and this base is here to stay," said Levin, who serves as chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. "The men and women who put on this country's military uniforms deserve everything we can provide them."

In addition to offices, classified briefing rooms, operations desk, aircrew flight equipment room, and other general-use spaces, the facility also houses a small gymnasium within its 27,000 sq. feet. of floorspace.

The construction project spanned the period of time when most of the Operations Group Airmen, along with a couple hundred aircraft maintainers from the 127th Maintenance Group, were deployed to Kandahar Airfield in support of Operation Enduring Freedom October 2011 through January 2012. When not deployed, the group relocated during the construction to the old base gymnasium, converting it into usable space with modular furniture, in order to maintain their operation. Occupation of the new facility took place in December of 2012, but the opening ceremony was delayed as the fighter squadron and supporting personnel deployed for two weeks to Davis-Monthan AFB near Tucson, Ariz., in late January in order to perform a number of upgrade sorties and utilize different tactical weapons ranges to hone their combat skills.

The Operations facility is one of the few major construction projects that have taken place around the base in recent years. The new Security Forces Squadron facility was completed in December 2011, and construction of a several buildings related to the maintenance and administration of aircraft munitions will be open for business in the near future.

On the horizon for the joint military installation, a new $30.2 million jet fuel storage and delivery system will be built later this decade, potentially smoothing the way for future aircraft and mission assignments to the southeastern Michigan base. The fuel farm will feature an above ground, 630,000 gallon storage complex, an eight-station hydrant refueling system that will allow even the largest Air Force aircraft to "pull-up to the pump," and a new fuel unloading site that, while it will be on existing military property, may be located outside of the base's fence line to provide better security to the base.

That project, to be funded by the federal Defense Logistics Agency, is expected to become operational in 2018.

One of the oldest military air fields in continuous service, the military first took possession of Selfridge Air National Guard Base on July 1, 1917. The first flight took place on July 8 and formal flight operations began on July 16, 1917. Today the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard is the host unit at the base, which also houses units of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection.