Selfridge 100th anniversary celebration to take flight
Harrison Township — A two-day Open House at the Selfridge Air National Guard base Saturday and Sunday will celebrate the facility’s 100th anniversary with aircraft in the air and on the ground.
Officials describe it as a free, family-friendly event that will honor both Selfridge’s rich history but also a view, as Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum said, of “the next 100 years.”
“The base is Michigan’s only active base and one of three in the nation to have operated this long,” said Slocum. “I like to think Selfridge’s best years are still ahead and we are happy to be able to celebrate this with the public.”
Slocum said “a couple hundred thousand” visitors are expected to attend the weekend Open House, which includes performances by the famed Air Force Thunderbirds.
Other aircraft at the show will include the Jenny, the first plane to fly out of Selfridge in the summer of 1917, and the new generation of the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet. Slocum hopes soon to be announcing that the Lightning II will be stored, maintained and trained on at Selfridge.
Selfridge is under consideration to keep the aircraft and was recently visited by a national review team, which is expected to announce its selection in the coming weeks.
Coolers and backpacks will not be allowed inside the base but there will be concession areas with food and beverages available for purchase.
A limited amount of food and drink can be brought in a clear, one-gallon plastic bag. Folding chairs are permitted but cases should be left in vehicles.
Tents, awnings, bikes and RVs are not allowed and no firearms are permitted to be carried on to the base; several security checkpoints are planned to assure the public’s safety, Slocum said. The show is more than two miles inside the base and pedestrians will not be allowed to walk through the gates.
“The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will be performing both days and there will be about 100 different types of airplanes in the air and on the ground for people to see,” he said.
Both days, exhibits and presentations open at 9 a.m., followed by a pre-show from 10:30-11 a.m. and the air show from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
There also is a “Family Day” for those who work at Selfridge on Friday, and private events, accessible to a limited number of ticket holders, that night including for an anniversary celebration dinner and concert followed by fireworks. About 4,500 men and women call Selfridge “home” Slocum said.
Civilians who arrive at the gate Friday without a pre-paid ticket will not be granted access to the base, no exceptions.
For ticket information, visit www.eventbrite.com and search “selfridge 100th anniversary.”
The 127th Wing flies both A-10 and KC-135 aircraft out of Selfridge. The base boasts operations of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marines, Coast Guard, Homeland Security and 44 private organizations.
Selfridge airmen over the decades have served in every war and battle, with deployments all over the world. The base has been a springboard for more than 145 officers who made the rank of general and its lineage includes the famed Tuskegee Airmen and Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker.