New National Guard Army Aviation Support Facility at Selfridge

  • Published
  • By 127th Wing Public Affairs
Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich. -The Michigan National Guard held a ribbon cutting ceremony here today at the new home of Detachment 1, Bravo Co. 3-328th Aviation Regiment, and its CH-47 Chinook helicopters. 

The small ceremony was marked by the presence of many local community members and representatives from Boeing, Inc., the manufacturer of the Chinook. Senior leaders from the Michigan National Guard, representing both the Army and the Air, told of the accomplishments of the young unit that has been stationed at Selfridge ANGB for only a handful of years. 

In October 2002, the unit was formed and arrived to Selfridge's Hangar 1422; however, the proposed location for the Chinooks was not yet ready for occupancy. This required the Soldiers to operate in other buildings at Selfridge until the following spring, which was accommodated by sending members to various schools away from the base to learn their new aircraft. With two aircraft on board that following autumn, the unit received word that it would deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for 15 months. 

Upon return from deployment, the unit was housed in Hangar 1422 for almost 2 years. When the 127th Wing, Michigan Air National Guard, no longer housed C-130s on the west side of Selfridge ANG Base due to an aircraft change and unit consolidation to the other side of the base, the 3-328th aviators were notified that they could move into Hangar 1416 - a facility roughly one-third larger than their old facility, allowing amore efficient maintenance program for the Chinooks. 

Colonel Bruce Bahr, the State Army Aviation Officer, told the crowd, "This hangar directly correlates to tax dollar savings to you and value to the mission. Every night that these aircraft can be staged indoors instead of out in the elements, saves us in maintenance and keeps these helicopters ready to go when we're needed." 

The approximately 132,000 square foot facility allows for all four of the units' aircraft to be housed together in one location and provides better weather protection and maintenance options than were previously available. The new location is almost double the size of the previous facility but actually saves money due to consolidation and the advantages of better weather protection for the aircraft. 

The mission of the CH-47 is heavy lifting, with an internal cargo capacity of 18,000 pounds, and an external cargo capacity of 26,000 pounds. It can carry up to 33 combat troops and can be used as a firefighting aircraft lifting and dumping 2,000 gallons of water per sortie. These capabilities were evidenced from the 3-238th's performance in Iraq, assisting with the rebuilding of levees after Hurricane Katrina and being instrumental in controlling the Upper Peninsula Sleeper Lake fires in Newberry, Mich., in August 2007. 

The Adjutant General of Michigan, Major General Thomas Cutler, observed, "This is a unit that has consistently added value to the Michigan National Guard, and this talented group of aviators absolutely deserves state of the art facilities such as these." 

Boeing representatives presented their traditional unit poster to senior leaders present at the event. The Michigan National Guard gratefully recognized Boeing, Inc. partners who continually upgrade Chinook features in order to provide successive product improvements. Boeing's commitment to quality aircraft and meeting the challenging requirements of the National Guard prove their dedication to preserving American ideals. 

Currently, 50 Soldiers including pilots, flight engineers, mechanics, and specialty shop personnel, drill at the facility on weekends and during special training sessions. Twenty-three full time employees provide continual support, conducting flight and aircraft maintenance. 

Today, approximately 1,800 Michigan National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from around the state are deployed across the globe in support of the global war on terrorism; however, as the Michigan Guard serves the nation abroad, more than 85 percent of the force is available, trained and ready to respond to state or federal emergencies.