New Jet Comes to Selfridge Published April 30, 2009 By 127th Public Affairs 4/30/2009 -- Residents in the Metro Detroit area will notice a new airplane flying overhead beginning this weekend, as the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard begins flying the A-10 Thunderbolt in place of the F-16. The unit has converted to the larger attack jet as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission law of 2005. On Saturday, the 127th Wing will hold a ceremony marking the official stand up of the new flying mission, while saying goodbye to the F-16, a jet that flew out of Selfridge Air National Guard Base for almost 20 years. The A-10s ability to fly at low altitude and slower speeds and its ability to employ a wide variety of conventional munitions including its 30 mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun, make it an often requested aircraft by ground troops wanting close air support. The aircraft has proven invaluable to the United States and its allies and has participated in Operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Provide Comfort, Desert Fox, Noble Anvil, Deny Flight, Deliberate Guard, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The 107th Fighter Squadron, the fighter-jet-flying "Red Devils" squadron of the 127th Wing, flew F-16s since 1990. They were called upon to patrol the Iraqi no fly-zones from bases in Kuwait, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. On September 11, 2001, while the 107th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron was landing in Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Southern Watch, the skeleton crew remaining in Michigan responded immediately to the terrorist attacks taking place in the skies of America that morning. Through tremendous teamwork, within hours the Michigan Air National Guard had F-16s patrolling local skies, armed and prepared to defend the nation against any threat. The squadron flew 24 hours a day for 23 straight days in November 2001, and later that year was recognized by the Air Force Association as the top flying unit and the Air National Guard's Distinguished Flying Unit. The 127th Wing continuously provided Air Sovereignty Alert non-stop around the clock from Sept 11, 2001 until it transferred the mission to the Ohio Air National Guard F-16s on Oct 1, 2008. In the Iraq war, the 107th Fighter Squadron became the first U.S. F-16 unit stationed inside Iraq in 2004. The squadron played an instrumental role assisting the Marine ground forces in the Fallujah battles of 2004, and later that year the F-16s were sent to Kirkuk in northern Iraq. In January 2007, 107th Fighter Squadron "Red Devils" and the 127th Maintenance Group deployed to Balad Air Base, Iraq, as part of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing. (The 332nd AEW has ancestral lineage to the former 332nd Fighter Group's Tuskegee Airmen of World War II who received gunnery training at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.) While deployed the Red Devils successfully flew combat missions including close air support to coalition ground forces in the decisive battle of An Najaf on January 28 that contributed to more than 400 enemy insurgents killed and 100 captured. The ceremony officially marking the new A-10 mission will be held in Hangar 3 at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The event is open to all base personnel.