Two Years Running: Selfridge Wins ANG Airfield Honors

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
For the second consecutive year, Selfridge Air National Guard Base has been named the Airfield Flight Operations Complex of the Year by the Air National Guard. The award recognizes exemplary performance in air traffic control, air traffic control maintenance and airfield management.

During the evaluation process, all air operations at Selfridge, including units assigned to the base from the Air National Guard, U.S. Coast Guard, Army National Guard and Customs & Border Protection, as well as visiting aircraft. In 2011, Selfridge's airfield operations team, which is part of the 127th Operations Group, supported several visits to the area by Air Force One, a variety of deployments both large and small, a re-location of aircraft from other U.S. bases in the path of a hurricane, the return home of the remains of fallen military personnel and the 2011 Selfridge Air Show and Open House.

Senior Master Sgt. Kelli Martin, the base airfield manager, said even amidst the activity on the air field, a variety of construction projects were also accomplished in 2011: a new Arm/De-arm pad; a pavement engineering evaluation on the runway and runway repair; new tie downs and joint sealant; tree removal in the runway clear zone; a complete new ILS antennae foundation; and the installation of new threshold lights on both ends of the runway.

"In Air Traffic Control, ATCALS (which performs maintenance on the air traffic control systems at the base) and Airfield Management, changes have been made in management within the past 3 years," said Mark Winsor, air traffic manager at the base. "These changes have changed the culture of the working environment. As an example, during our recent audit, people that normally do nothing outside their core (duties) stepped up to the plate by ensuring they were ready and willing to take on very short suspense projects. This would never have happened in the past.

"Bottom line... it has gone from being a "me" first mentality to a total team concept," Winsor said.

About 45 people work in the three departments directly related to the award, representing a mix of civilian employees, contractors and military personnel.

"Airfield operations is one of those areas that can easily be taken for granted, but it really has a direct impact on the various units on the base being able to perform their mission," said Col. Michael Thomas, 127th Wing commander. "Top to bottom, our airfield management team should rightfully be proud of this award. To receive it twice in a row really speaks to people working at and maintaining the highest of standards."

In addition to the direct operations that happen on the runways and ramps at Selfridge, the air traffic controllers at the base also provide service to a wide swath of air space north of Detroit, even reaching into Canada. The base's air tower personnel handle about 7,500 operations per quarter, while the controllers working in the radar approach control area handle about 9,500 operations per quarter. In addition, Selfridge is a training site for Air National Guard personnel who are learning air traffic control skills.

Over the past two years, Selfridge operators have also played a leading role in the use of a new airfield automation system being rolled out by the Air Force, Martin said.