Team Concept on Display at Selfridge Air Show

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
Unlike many teams, not everyone on this one wears the same uniform. The jargon is different and the tools of the trade can vary wildly. But everyone on Team Selfridge has one goal: service to nation and to community.

Team Selfridge goes on display Aug. 20 and 21 at the annual Selfridge Air Show and Open House. The show will feature displays and demonstrations from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and several agencies of the Dept. of Homeland Security - each of which have a presence at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

"Selfridge has always been known for the flying missions based here, but this base has truly become a hub for defense and homeland security operations," said Col. Michael Thomas, commander of the 127th Wing, a component of the Michigan Air National Guard and the host unit at the base.

"The aircraft we fly will be the stars during the air show, but the true value of this base are the highly-trained men and women in uniform that we provide to the nation and to the community on a day-in and day-out basis," Thomas said.

Nearly 3,000 full-time employees spend all or part of their workday at Selfridge. Among the largest contingents are agents of the U.S. Border Patrol; logistics and robotics specialists working for the U.S. Army; and a search and rescue helicopter unit of the U.S. Coast Guard. Another 3,000 members of the Michigan Air and Army National Guard and military Reserves are assigned to the base. At any given time, hundreds of those Guard and Reserve personnel are deployed to duty stations around the globe. As an example, Airmen assigned to the base's 127th Air Refueling Group have been deployed to Guam, Germany and to southwest Asia already this year in support of a variety of contingencies. Some 125 of the Navy Reservists assigned to the Navy Operational Support Center Detroit are currently serving overseas in support of the fleet.

"We provide a tremendous resource and flexibility to the nation," Thomas said.

Two of the most anticipated visitors to the biennial air show will help drive home the joint nature of the Selfridge community. Scheduled to appear is an Air Force demonstration team flying the F-22 Raptor and a Navy demonstration team flying the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

"For years, Team Selfridge has been known as a place where all the services are able to work together, to accomplish the mission," said Lt. Col. Sean Campbell, an Air National Guard fighter pilot and the director of the 2011 Selfridge Air Show. "When I call an air show meeting, I see every kind of uniform. Each organization has an important part in our defense community."

Campbell said the Air Show provides an opportunity for the units assigned to the base say thank you to the surrounding community for the support offered to the service personnel assigned to the base.

"The Navy has enjoyed a long and very positive relationship with Selfridge and the surrounding community," said Commander Erik Isaacson, commanding officer of Navy Operational Support Center Detroit, where about 625 Citizen-Sailors are assigned, including those currently deployed.

"To be able to showcase the F-18 as part of the annual air show is a way for the Navy to help people to understand and learn more about the Navy's mission, its equipment and its Sailors," Isaacson said.

The F-22 is the newest fighter aircraft in the U.S. inventory, first formally being accepted by the Air Force in 2005. The 2011 Air Show will mark the first time the Raptor has appeared at the Selfridge show. The original F-18 Hornet entered service with the Navy in the mid-1980s. The upgraded Super Hornet variant entered the fleet in 2002. The F-18 can operate from both land-based stations and is the attack and fighter aircraft onboard American aircraft carriers when they are at sea.

In addition to the Navy's F-18s, a variety of Army armored vehicles, Dept. of Homeland Security aircraft and informational booths by all of the military services will help round-out the "open house" portion of the Air Show, Campbell said.

Military flying demonstrations will be conducted by the A-10 Thunderbolt II, also known as the Warthog, the KC-135 Stratotanker, Army CH-47 Chinook and the Coast Guard HH65 Dolphin, all of which are based at Selfridge. Other military aircraft scheduled to either fly in the show or to be on static display during the show include the F-15 Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, KC-10 Extender, C-130 Hercules, B-52 Stratofortress, B-1 Lancer and the B-2 Spirit. The participation of all military aircraft is subject to availability and operational concerns.

Several former military aircraft - known in aviation circles as "warbirds" - will also participate in the show, including a Cold War-era Russian-built Mig-17, an F-86 Sabre, B-17 Flying Fortress, B-25 Mitchell and the P-51 Mustang.

More than a half-dozen civilian acrobatic aircraft will also be performing in the show.
The 2011 Selfridge Air Show and Open House will be 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 20-21. The air show, and parking for the show, is free. Additional information on the show is available at www.selfridgeairshow.org.

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 numerous 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.