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Michigan units contributed to D-Day success

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs

One of the oldest flying units in the U.S. National Guard, the 107th Fighter Squadron of the Michigan Air National Guard played a direct role in the D-Day invasion of 1944 which helped the U.S. and allied nations secure victory in World War II.


June 6 marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, in which thousands of U.S., British, Canadian and allied forces stormed the beaches of France and began a push toward Germany and eventual victory in the European Theater of World War II.


Operating at the time as the 107th Observation Squadron and later at the 107th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, the Michigan Airmen were deployed to England in August 1942. There, the 107th flew L-4, L-5, A-20 and Spitfire aircraft, before being equipped with the F-6A, the reconnaissance version of the P-51 Mustang. In December 1943, the 107th became the first operational photographic reconnaissance squadron in Northern Europe. In preparation for the Allied invasion on D-Day, the squadron flew missions over the French coast and was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its efforts. Assigned to support the First U.S. Army during the Normandy Campaign, the 107th was the first reconnaissance unit to operate from French soil.


Sixty years later, in 2004, the 107th Fighter squadron became the first F-16 unit to be based in Iraq during operations there.


Today, the 107th Fighter Squadron operates A-10 Thunderbolt IIs at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.


Selfridge's 171st Air Refueling Squadron was established during World War II as the 374th Fighter Squadron. It operated as a bomber-escort unit during the war, operating from England until Dec. 23, 1944, when it was re-assigned to the European mainland. The squadron operated P-47 Thunderbolts in the first part of the war and then was equipped with P-51 Mustangs.


Today, the 171st operates KC-135 Stratotankers at Selfridge.


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.