Secretary James: Selfridge ‘stands ready’

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
Saluting Team Selfridge for continuing to 'Stand Ready' to serve state and nation, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James spent Thursday, Nov. 6, visiting Michigan's Hometown Air Force at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

"The 127th Wing has certainly been shouldering its fair share, maybe more than its share, over the last several years," James told the base's Airmen. "There is no doubt you really do stand ready."

During her visit to the air base, James also had lunch with the nominees for Airmen of the Year from the 127th Wing at Selfridge, met with the Team Selfridge commanders and held an "all-call" meeting with Airmen from around the base. The Secretary also met with the local Sexual Assault Response Coordinator team, underscoring the priority the Defense Department has placed on eliminating and properly responding to cases of sexual assault among service personnel.

The visit to Selfridge marked the 50th base James has visited in her 10 months as Secretary, she said. James called the visits to Airmen in the field the highlight of her job.

During a question-and-answer session, James talked about her future vision for the Air Force and for the need for the service to continue to serve America at the highest level of excellence, even while facing ongoing budgetary challenges. James stated that a high-level review of Air Force missions is taking place now, with an eye toward a possible move of some additional mission sets into the Air National Guard and/or Air Force Reserve. She stated that results of that review will start to be put forward in the February time frame.

The day-long trip was James' second visit to Selfridge. She had first visited the base in the early 1990s, just as she was beginning a five-year period when she served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. Then, as in this trip, James paid a visit to STARBASE ONE, a DoD-sponsored educational center that uses the backdrop of the U.S. space program to provide science, engineering and related educational programming to area 5th grade students. The Selfridge STARBASE is the original such STARBASE in the nation. The program has since spread to DoD facilities in every state in the nation.

As the nation's 23rd Secretary of the Air Force, James is responsible for the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of the Air Force's more than 690,000 active duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen and their families. She also oversees the Air Force's annual budget of more than $110 billion.

The secretary's visit came just four days after the 127th Wing welcomed a new commander. Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum took command of the wing on Nov. 2.

"The visit by the secretary gave our Michigan Airmen and the state's leadership the opportunity to share the Selfridge story - and our vision for Selfridge - at the absolute highest-level of Air Force leadership," Slocum said. "We believe strongly in the future of this base."

About 1,700 Airmen of the Michigan Air National Guard's 127th Wing are assigned to Selfridge. The motto of the 127th Wing is "We Stand Ready."

About the 127th Wing
Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operation Command 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 97th year of continuous military air operations in 2014.