Articles Highlight Early 107FS History

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
The Michigan Air National Guard's 107th Fighter Squadron is one of the oldest flying units in the U.S. military. The following articles first appeared in several issues of Air Corps News Letter, an official military publication, in 1927 and highlight the formation of the 107th. Though the squadron's history actually dates back several years earlier, these articles from 1927 are the first substantial reporting on the 107th by an official military publication.

The National Guard Air Corps (May 14, 1927)
(This article is condensed from a longer original.)

There are at present in this country 16 Federally recognized observation squadrons and photo sections, the organizational scheme being the Division Air Corps consisting of one squadron and one photo section for each of 18 Infantry Divisions. The budget for 1928 provides for an additional Division Air Corps, while another is provided in the tentative estimates for Fiscal Year 1929.

In the units now Federally recognized, the National Guard has 201 pilots, 23 observers and 58 non-rated officers acting as observers. There are vacancies in the existing units for 235 flying officers, 103 of whom should be pilots.

Under regulations issued by the Militia Bureau, airplanes issued to the National Guard are piloted only by officers holding a pilot's rating recognized by the Chief of Air Corps. The 201 pilots in the National Guard are keeping up their training as evidenced by the fact that during the Fiscal Year 1926, they flew a total of 11,953 hours, an average of over 67 hours per pilot.

The National Guard was originally equipped with the JN type of training plane, a war surplus. These airplanes were turned over to the National Guard as a free issue, but a charge of $2,000 for reconditioning each plane was made by the Army Air Corps. In the first years of the existence of the Air Corps units in the National Guard, practically all parts, both airplane and engines, were a free issue. This equipment being gradually diminished, it was realized that the JN plane would have to be replaced by a new type. A board of officers convened by the Chief of the Militia Bureau to study the replacement question recommended the substitution for the JN plane in each squadron of 3 standard observation planes and 5 advanced planes.

Orders by the Chief of Air Corps to Depots that no more JN airplanes would be given major overhauls, issued in consequence of accident statistics bringing to light the fact that occupants of a metal fuselage airplane had a much better chance of escaping serious injury than occupants of a wooden airplane, made it evident that the National Guard in the immediate future would be without flying equipment. Recently, however, a contract was let for 35 O-1 airplanes for issue to National Guard organizations, and hope is being entertained that some, if not all of these planes will be supplied in time for the field training during 1927.

Units of the National Guard Air Corps, their location, composition, etc., are given below, as follows...

32nd Division, Michigan National Guard (107th Observation Squadron, 107th Photo Section and Medical detachment), Major Floyd E. Evans, commanding, and 1st Lieut. Edgar T. Selzer, Air Corps, instructor, comprises 14 officers, including Flight Surgeon. The field used is part of Rouge Park, owned by the City of Detroit, located about 11 miles from City Hall, but not more than 7 miles from the center of the residential district. It is about two miles due north of the Ford Airport. In addition to their new Truscon steel hangar, the squadron has built with squadron funds two other buildings adjoining it, one to accommodate the headquarters of the squadron and the other the headquarters and supplies of the Photo Section, the Squadron supplies, a machine shop and class room.

(Editor's note: A mention in Air Corps Newsletter two months prior had a listing on Lt. Selzer's posting to the 107th, but offered no other detail.)

Air Corps, Michigan National Guard, Detroit, Mich. (July 12, 1927)
Despite much rain and a wet field which made flying unwise, if not impossible, the officers and men on flying pay in the 107th Observation Squadron, Michigan National Guard, have managed to get in all of their required flying time. In doing this the squadron has figured in several cross-country trips, and an aerial demonstration over the city during the Memorial Day parade.

Our field at the summer training camp site has been inspected and approved and we have been informed we will go to camp on August 6th for two weeks' training. The field is 3,00 square feet, located about three miles from Grayling, Mich.

On May 22nd, our four "Jennies" flew to Lansing and back in the squadron's first cross-country flight. With the exception of a drenching during a rainstorm in Lansing, the trip was without incident.

Our field in River Rouge Park - 80 acres - is gradually changing into an A-1 port. The field is being used as a Detroit terminal of a new airline between Detroit and Saginaw, recently started by W.J. Carr, veteran pilot of the State. Using one Travel Air biplane, Carr makes three round trips weekly.

A number of cross-country trips to Selfridge Field were made by squadron officers during the month.

Michigan National Guard Air Corps - J.T. Nevill (July 19, 1927)
With a total of 120 hours and 42 minutes flying time to their credit for the first full month of flying, the officers and men of the 107th Observation Squadron, Michigan National Guard, feel highly capable of acquitting themselves well at the State National Guard Encampment, which beings at Grayling, Michigan, August 6th.

During the past month the Squadron's planes were used on much cross-country work, although considerable time was put in the immediate vicinity of the field.

The Squadron was represented at the funeral of Lieut. J. Thad Johnson, of Selfridge Field, killed at Ottawa, Canada, July 2nd, while escorting Colonel Lindbergh.

The 107th Observation Squadron is eagerly looking forward to the arrival of its issue of PT-1's to replace the "Jennies" now being used.

The 107th was first organized as the 107th Aero Squadron at Kelly Field, Texas, on 27 Aug. 1917 in response to the U.S. entry into World War I earlier that year. The unit was demobilized and disbanded in March 1919, following the conclusion of the war. In 1925, a squadron of 20 officers and 90 enlisted men began meeting weekly in a Detroit garage and created the Michigan National Guard's first flying unit. On 7 May 1926, the unit received federal recognition and was designated the 107th Observation Squadron. Today, the 107th Fighter Squadron is assigned to the 127th Wing, Michigan Air National Guard, at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. Since 2009, the squadron has flown and operated the A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft.

Comprised of approximately 1,600 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 Operations 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 is also home to units of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection.