A biplane captures the attention of Selfridge Air National Guard Base Air Show and Open attendees in 2009. This year's show is Sept. 6-7. (David Coates / The Detroit News)
American military might and women in flight.
Both will be the stars of Selfridge Air National Guard Base’s Air Show and Open House in September.
Officials for the base in Harrison Township on Tuesday announced the themes for the free event Sept. 6-7.
“We want people to come out and make a day of it,” said Sgt. Dan Heaton, a spokesman for the Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Wing, which is made up of about 1,700 guardsmen who manage and operate the base.
Maj. Bartley Ward, an A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jet pilot who is serving as the open house’s director, said the event will showcase the capabilities of the Air National Guard and the armed forces as well as the skills and abilities of the people who work at Selfridge.
In addition, civilian female pilots who will perform at the show will give presentations about their careers and experiences as aviators, Ward said.
Also expected to be a huge attraction is the event’s special guests — the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration team. It’s the first time the team has performed at Selfridge since 2005, officials said.
The Blue Angels fly the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet, and their mission is to enhance the Navy’s recruiting efforts and serve as a representative of Navy and Marine Corps aviation.
A Macomb County native leads the team of precision pilots. Cmdr. Tom Frosch, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, is a 1998 graduate of Fraser High School.
Selfridge hosts the air show every other year when military obligations allow. Each day of the two-day event draws about 75,000, not including people watching from boats on nearby Lake St. Clair or from the lawns of nearby homes.
Selfridge is home to 44 federal agencies, including units with the armed forces and Customs and Border Protection.
Nearly 6,900 active Guard and Reserve military personnel and civilians are stationed at the base, which is also home to the 127th Wing’s fleet of 18 A-10 Thunderbolt air-to-ground jet fighters and eight KC-135 aircraft refueling jets. The A-10s are targeted by the military for retirement, threatening the loss of hundreds of jobs at the base.
This year, the base also marks its 97th year of continuous military air operations.