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Passing of the Aircraft Keys

SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, MICH. -- A ceremonial "Passing of the Aircraft Keys" will take place here on Thursday at 10 a.m.

This will commemorate the first KC-135 Stratotanker transitioning from the 927th Air Refueling Wing, Air Force Reserves, to the 127th Wing, Michigan Air National Guard. It also signifies the continuing success these two units have experienced with the total force integration of these two units transitioning according to BRAC guidance.

Per the 2005 BRAC decisions, the 927th Air Refueling Wing is moving to MacDill Air Force Base, Florida later in 2008 to become an associate unit of an active duty wing. The 127th Wing is converting flying missions per the 2005 decisions, including from flying the C-130 Hercules airlifters to the KC-135 Refuelers. The unit said farewell to the last of their C-130s back in October.

Currently, the neighboring units of two separate Air Force components are working together to ensure training requirements are met as the 127th Wing ramps up to this new mission.

"Total Force is working over in the War on Terror with the Guard, Reserves and Active Duty coming together to accomplish one mission. This is the first time we've come together like this here at our base," said Capt. Joseph Winchester, 127th Conversion Officer.

He continued by stating, "The Guard really benefits here, learning from subject matter experts on these planes. We're getting to pick up on their years of experience and knowledge and learn from a bona fide experienced reserve forces unit."

More than 220 Air National Guard personnel are fully integrated with the Reserve component at Selfridge, including maintenance, operations, and command personnel.

Colonel Gary Beebe, commander of the 927th Air Refueling Wing said, "The Michigan story of the 127th/927th partnership is one that needs to be told, because it truly shows how much good can be accomplished when people don't worry about who gets the credit."

The first ANG flight of the KC-135 from Selfridge will take place on Friday. The next aircraft transfer will be on December 27. In all, the 127th Wing will obtain 8 KC-135 aircraft from the Air Force Reserves.

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