Selfridge Touts Joint Operations With Air Show

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Public Affairs
Was that the Air Force A-10 or was it the Navy's F-18, the man in the USA t-shirt asked, moments after the plane landed. 

A question with an obvious answer perhaps to an airmen or a sailor, but ultimately the answer was the very reason the 2009 Selfridge Air Show & Open House took place. For two weekend days in August, some 200,000 people on the Air National Guard Base -- and perhaps an equal number off the base -- were treated to a flying display of a wide variety of the nation's military aircraft. While the aircraft may have been the prime draw, those who were on the base also saw a display of just about every uniform in the nation's inventory as well: Coast Guard blue next to Marine Corps camouflage; Border Patrol green walking past Navy whites; ABUs, ACUs, BDUs, dress blues and every manner of stripe, star and bar imaginable. 

Selfridge, which first became an Army air field in 1917 - as part of a frantic effort to train pilots for World War I - has long boasted extensive "jointness." Units of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Border Patrol and Customs & Border Protection are all stationed at Selfridge, along with the host 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard. So when Selfridge hosts an air show, it is only natural that Warthogs share the air space with Super Hornets and that the show's ground display includes a healthy smattering of tanks, speed boats and rescue helicopters. 

"This is the taxpayer's show," said Brig. Gen. Michael Peplinski, commanding general of the 127th Wing. "Our neighbors have paid for this equipment and we have the responsibility to show them how these agencies are working individually and cooperatively to serve our nation, our state and our community." 

Two weeks before the Selfridge Air Show, which tool place Aug. 22-23, Customs & Border Protection officials announced plans for a $30 million northern border intelligence "fusion" center, to allow various federal, state and local agencies to share data to keep the northern border secure. CBP recently stood up the Great Lakes Air & Marine Wing at Selfridge, which flies a variety of small fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft to monitor the border region. 

On the other side of the base from the CBP Wing, the U.S. Army's Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center from the Detroit Arsenal in nearby Warren, Mich., has expanded the number of engineers working in its offices on Selfridge.
Meanwhile, the next hangar over from CBP, a unit of the Michigan Army National Guard flies CH-47 Chinook helicopters and the Selfridge-based Coast Guard Air Station Detroit flies HH65-Dolphine helicopters. 

The host 127th Wing just completed a major aircraft transition. As a result of decisions handed down with the Base Re-alignment and Closure Commission plan of 2005, the Wing transitioned from flying F-16 Fighting Falcons and C-130 Hercules to A-10 Warthogs and KC-135 Stratotankers. 

The base is also home to the Border Patrol's Sector Detroit headquarters; Marine Corps air wing and infantry units; Naval Reserve Center Detroit; and a Navy construction battalion. 

Selfridge is home to about 400 active-duty and 3,000 military reservists/National Guard personnel, as well as 700 civilian employees.