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Hundreds return home from deployments

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Public Affairs
Approximately 500 Airmen from Selfridge Air National Guard Base are now home following perhaps the busiest summer in the modern history of the Michigan Air National Guard. 

Airmen of the 127th Wing have been filtering home over the past several weeks, with the largest contingency returning to Michigan over the October 22-24 weekend, with ten jets and pilots returning on October 22, and the majority of the Airmen coming home on October 24. Most of the Airmen and aircraft spent 6 months in Southwest Asia, supporting Operation Inherent Resolve and other missions.

"Our Airmen - and their families - have been fully engaged. It is with great gratitude and respect for a job well done that we welcome them home," said Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, commander of the 127th Wing at Selfridge.

The largest group of Airmen, about 350, were from the units that fly and operate the A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft at Selfridge, notably the 107th Fighter Squadron, 127th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 127th Maintenance Squadron. Most of these Airmen were deployed for six months, the longest mass deployment of Selfridge Airmen since the Korean War. A-10 pilots and support crews sported more than 1,600 sorties, logging more than 11,000 combined hours of combat flight time. The A-10 is principally an air-to-ground attack aircraft; it is popularly known as the Warthog.

Smaller contingents of Airmen from the KC-135 Stratotanker units at Selfridge deployed for two- and three-month periods, flying some 300-plus missions, logging almost 2,200 combat flight hours.  They completed their deployments earlier this month.  Units in involved in the KC-135 deployment included the 171st Air Refueling Squadron, the 191st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 191st Maintenance Squadron. The KC-135 is principally an air-to-air refueling aircraft, though can also be configured to carry injured personnel or troops and cargo.

According to local 127th Wing records, having 500 Airmen deployed from the 1,700-member Wing at a single time has not happened since the Korean War ended in 1953.

Slocum noted that while many of the Selfridge Airmen were deployed, missions also continued at the base. As an example, the local aerial port unit supported 89 different missions in fiscal year 2015, which ended Sept. 30, moving a total of 2,230 passengers and 625 tons of cargo via aircraft.

While significant numbers of Airmen were still deployed, the 127th Wing also underwent a pre-scheduled operational readiness inspection, receiving an overall grade of "Excellent."

"Many of our Airmen are now enjoying a hard-earned period of rest and recovery," Slocum said. "I cannot emphasize enough how proud I am of each one of them."

A final group of approximately 50 Airmen will complete the deployment returning home by the end of the month.

About the 127th Wing
Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the Michigan Air National Guard's 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command and Air Combat Command operations by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which marks its 98th year of continuous military air operations in 2015.