Statistics and Facts of Selfridge Air National Guard Base Michigan
The airfield was named for Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge, the first U.S. military officer to die in an aviation accident while flying with Orville Wright at Fort Myer, Virginia on September 17, 1908. It was an active Air Force base from the 1940s throughout the 1960s, but it always had a significant Reserve and National Guard presence. It became a wholly reserve facility in the 1980s.
The Army leased the 640 acres (260 ha) of land from Henry B. Joy for $190,000. On July 1, 1917 Selfridge Field was opened. During the period when the field was a base of the Air Service and Army Air Corps, Selfridge was the home of the 1st Pursuit Group, the oldest combat group in the Air Force. After World War II, Selfridge Field expanded to its present size of 3,600 acres (1500 ha). In 1947, Selfridge Field became Selfridge Air Force Base.
On July 1, 1971, Selfridge Air Force Base was transferred to the Michigan Air National Guard, becoming the first major active Air Force base to come under control of the Air National Guard. Today Selfridge Air National Guard Base is the home of many diversified units of all the armed services.
The 127th Wing (127 WG) of the Michigan Air National Guard is a combined Air Combat Command (ACC) and Air Mobility Command (AMC) gained organization that was established at Selfridge ANG Base on April 1, 1996, by consolidating the former 127th Fighter Wing and the 191st Airlift Group. The flying units, the 171st Airlift Squadron which flies the C-130 Hercules, and the 107th Fighter Squadron which flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon, retained their original designations.
The 927th Air Refueling Wing (927 ARW), an Air Force Reserve Command wing operationally gained by the Air Mobility Command (AMC), was previously headquartered at Selfridge Air National Guard Base until 2007. The 927 ARW is a subordinate command of Fourth Air Force (4 AF), headquartered at March Air Reserve Base, California. The mission of the 927 ARW is to organize, equip and train to provide air refueling support to fighter, bomber and airlift aircraft under widely varying situations ranging from small movements in battle to large movements over long distances. The mission also encompasses the movement of cargo and support of aeromedical and special support operations. Pursuant to recent BRAC action, the 927 ARW transferred their KC-135 aircraft to the Michigan Air National Guard and relocated to MacDill AFB, Florida in the 2008. At MacDill, the 927 ARW has become an Air Force Reserve "Associate" wing to MacDill's 6th Air Mobility Wing, with both organizations flying the KC-135R PACER CRAG variant of the Stratotanker.
Another activity at Selfridge is STARBASE, an Air National Guard initiative that engages in activity-based science and math lessons. The program uses an aviation theme to allow local children to excel, regardless of their economic situation. STARBASE traces its roots to the Air National Guard’s 127th Wing at Selfridge ANG Base, Mich., in 1991. The Department of Defense came on board with the STARBASE program in 1993.
Selfridge was also the home of Tuskegee Airmen units during WWII and has an active Tuskeegee Airmen Chapter in Detroit, Michigan. Selfridge is also known as the "Home of Generals" because so many officers assigned there were promoted to general the most famous, being General Curtis E. LeMay, perhaps the most famous Commander of the Strategic Air Command and a former Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Historically, Lieutenant LeMay was once fined $50 for flying through Hangar #6 at Selfridge in a bi-wing trainer.
The only military base currently open in Michigan, Selfridge contains the only government-owned family housing in the Detroit area. For that reason, the base is known as "The Home of Generals" because over 150 generals spent parts of their careers at Selfridge. The working population of the base is currently 550 on active duty, 1,720 civilian workers, and 4,200 reservists and guardsmen.
Selfridge Military Air Museum
The base also supports the on-base Selfridge Military Air Museum, which features outdoor displays of over 15 aircraft, many of types previously assigned to Selfridge. Exhibits includes photos and artifacts about aviation in American wars, including aerospace. The museum is operated by the Michigan Air Guard Historical Association.