Many changes, but still the best

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Gerald Bealore
  • 127th Air Refueling Group
As I prepare to put on my uniform for the very last time, there is a great feeling of pride knowing that I was a part of the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

Of course, over the last 34 years, the landscape has changed. I have watched many developments take place that have made Selfridge what it is today. Many may not remember that the clinic was a small building that sat near the lake or that the newly-opened gym was actually once the gym; but I recall these locations vividly as if it was yesterday.

Over the years, there have been many rumors of the base closing. There was the rumor that Selfridge would become a civilian airport to accommodate business travelers that live in the area. There was also the rumor that Selfridge would be replaced with luxury condos, a marina, and shopping complex. This property sitting right on the water was far too valuable to be a military installation. But instead, I've seen a beautiful new dining facility, a new fire department, a new medical facility, and major renovations to what is now CE, Security Forces, and the 107th Ops. This showed everyone that our base could withstand the test of time and change.

We have even seen our mission change as well. When I arrived here in 1981, the 191st Fighter Interceptor Group was flying F-4C Phantoms and the 127th Fighter Wing was flying A-7 Corsairs. There was nothing like the roar of an F-4 taking off with the afterburners glowing in the sky. The big TDYs back then was a trip to Tyndall AFB to compete in the William Tell competition or to Alpena for 2 weeks of "Summer Camp."

Now, we are currently deployed all over the world on the "tip of the spear" with KC-135 Stratotankers and A-10 Thunderbolt IIs to carry out our nation's business.

Throughout all of the changes, one thing has remained the same: the spirit and patriotism of the men and women of the 127th Wing to go anywhere, and do whatever it takes to make this unit the best of the best! I am proud to have served with you all and I look forward to all the great things you will do in the future.

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.