Secretary McGinnis visits the 127th Wing

  • Published
  • By 127th Public Affairs
Mr. David McGinnis, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, visited Selfridge Air National Guard Base for briefings and a base tour given by the 127th Wing Commander and base commander, Colonel Michael Thomas, on March 9, 2012. Joining the tour and visit were Maj General Robert Johnston, Michigan Adjutant General for Air, and Brig Gen James Wilson, Michigan Adjutant General for Future Missions.

McGinnis' position supports the National Guard, the Reserves, their veterans and their employers. With all branches of the military serving at Selfridge in mostly reserve component units, the Secretary remarked on all the synergies available in the one location. He remembered aloud, "As we used to say, 'When the Army and the Air Force go to war, the President goes to war; but, when the Guard and Reserve goes, America goes with them.'"

The Secretary told the crowd of Team Selfridge commanders and Selfridge Base Community Council executive committee members, "The strength of America doesn't come from the Pentagon, it comes from Main Street America."

The trip to Michigan was dedicated to the Secretary's learning about the Michigan Air National Guard, Selfridge ANG Base and the 127th Wing in preparation for upcoming hearings on the 2013 Presidential Budget proposal, which delineates the loss of the A-10s and approximately 650 jobs at the southeast Michigan unit.

"There hasn't been a time in the almost 100 years this base has been here that this base, this community, did not have a fighter squadron," said Mr. Philip Handleman of the Base Community Council. "I cannot impress upon you enough the fact that if these jets leave this base, we lose a lot of the synergies that have been built here, we lose so much more than just these planes."

The proposed Air Force budget also calls for an increase in the number of KC-135 Stratotankers assigned to Selfridge, rising from eight aircraft to 12.   No timeline for any of the proposed changes has been announced.

With approximately 1,700 Airmen assigned, the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard is the host organization at Selfridge, flying the KC-135 Stratotanker, an aerial refueler, and the A-10 Thunderbolt II, also known as the Warthog, which is an air-to-ground attack fighter. In addition to the Wing, Selfridge is home to more than 40 tenants representing other military and federal agencies, which fly a variety of helicopters and small, light fixed-wing aircraft.

More information on the 127th Wing and Selfridge Air National Guard Base is available at www.127wg.ang.af.mil.