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70th Anniversary: Michigan Guard units played role in Battle of the Bulge

Battle of the Bulge. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Battle of the Bulge. (U.S. Air Force photo)

SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- This month marks the 70th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Bulge, which turned out to be the last major German offensive of World War II. Two Michigan National Guard units played significant roles in the battle.

The 254th Combat Engineer Battalion, now known as the 107th Engineer Combat Battalion and based in the Upper Peninsula, was deployed as infantry in Belgium when the German military launched an all-out attack on the evening of Dec. 16, 1944. The lightly-armed 254th was able to turn back two attacks before being forced to withdraw from a third attack supported by German armor and artillery. The 254th continued to withdrew to successive defensive positions until finally reinforced, some nine hours after the attack had begun. During the course of the battles, the 254th suffered approximately 100 soldiers killed, wounded or taken prisoner. As a result of its actions during the battle, the 254th was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and the French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star.

The 107th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, now the 107th Fighter Squadron at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, was active in the battle as well, flying reconnaissance missions over the battle field. Some 6,000 U.S. and Allied aircraft participated at some point in the three-week battle. The 107th had earlier been awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for its participation in the D-Day invasion in June 1944.

In total, approximately one million soldiers from all sides participated in the three-week long battle.

The 127th Wing salutes all of our WWII veterans.

About the Michigan National Guard
The Michigan National Guard's 12,000 Soldiers and Airmen stand ready to serve both state and nation. With operations at three air fields, two major training bases and more than 40 armories around the state, Michigan National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are trained to provide a wide-range of disaster response and other support to civil authorities, while maintaining a high degree of combat readiness. The Michigan National Guard operates two State Partnership for Peace programs, with Latvia (since 1993) and Liberia (since 2009). Joint Forces Headquarters is in Lansing.

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.