Airmen work on 'continuous improvements'

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
When Technical Sgt. Jeff Motto puts on his uniform to serve in the Michigan Air National Guard, he's eager to keep a proud heritage alive at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

"Selfridge has a history full of innovation," said Motto, a power production specialist who serves with the 127th Civil Engineer Squadron at Selfridge. "I'd like to see that tradition not only continue, but expand at Selfridge."

Motto is among the many members of the Michigan Air National Guard and area veterans who enjoy tracking the 97-year history of Selfridge, which was once known as the "Home of the Generals" for the many early, influential generals who began their careers at Selfridge, including the first Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Carl A. Spatz.

"I believe to get where you want to go, you have to understand where you came from," Motto said. "And Selfridge is a place with a fascinating history."

Among the Selfridge history that fascinates Motto: the 1928 series of demonstrations at the base by a man named Lester J. Hendershot who claimed to have invented a power generator that needed no fuel source.

Motto enjoys serving in the Guard enough that about three years ago, he convinced his friend, Staff Sgt. Richard Sanchez, to join the Guard as well. Sanchez had served in both the Army and the Navy previously.

"The people in the Air Force are expected to be very knowledgeable," Sanchez said. "They expect a lot out of you."

"I'm glad he convinced me to get back in," Sanchez said.

As power production specialists in the 127th CES, Motto and Sanchez are responsible for the generation and delivery of electrical power. The two spent the last two weeks of May on annual training with about three dozen fellow CE Airmen at an Innovative Readiness Training project in Raymond, Maine. During the IRT, teams of Air National Guard Airmen, Marine Corps Reservists and Army Reserve Soldiers are rotating in to serve for two week periods at Camp Hinds Boy Scout Camp in Raymond. The IRT program allows military construction crews to work in their assigned military skill specialties while a nonprofit organization, in this case the Boy Scouts, reap the benefits of the work. The Scouts pay for the building materials. The IRT program is managed by the Dept. of Defense.

During the IRT, the troops set up a bare base operation at the Scout camp. Power production specialists set up generators and related equipment to provide power to the camp. Once the initial camp is set up, "power pro" Airmen like Motto and Sanchez continue to work to make small improvements as they can.

"You're always looking for ways to make the camp a little better," Sanchez said. "It's just continuous little improvements."

Motto said it is also important for CE Airmen to understand that they are part of a larger team.

"We'll help out on any part of the project where they need us," he said. "You need to remain flexible."

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.