Selfridge plans first open house and air show since 2017
Harrison Township — Selfridge Air National Guard Base announced Tuesday its first Open House and Air Show in three years will be held June 6 and 7, 2020.
The announcement, attended by several dozen guardsmen, Macomb County officials and reporters was made outside the base’s Military Museum.
“To me, it’s a way for community outreach,” said Brig. Gen. Rolf E. Mammen, who oversees the 127th Wing and is Selfridge base commander. “It’s an opportunity for the community to pass beyond the base gates to experience this community.”
Selfridge’s last open house, held in July 2017 to celebrate the base’s centennial, drew 212,000 attendees to the air show, plus an estimated 100,000 viewing it along Lake St. Clair and 1.5 million viewers from 105 countries watching it livestreamed on the Internet.
The base, occupied by 1,700 people at any given time, is the largest in Michigan and the third largest in the nation. The air show is the largest event of its kind in the state, Mammen said.
Nothing was said Tuesday about the change in fighter aircraft coming to active-duty and reservist units in coming years. Selfridge was one of five ANG bases under consideration for F-35As, which will supplant F-16s. Truax Field ANGB in Madison, Wisconsin, and Dannely Field in Montgomery, Alabama, will receive F-35As in 2023.
It is possible that Selfridge, along with Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho, and Jacksonville ANG in Florida will follow but no deadline or future dates have been announced.
“We are still in an environmental impact study phase,” said Phillip Ulmer, public affairs spokesman for the 127th Wing. “But we stand ready for consideration.”
A public comment phase has been extended until Nov. 1, Ulmer said. For more information, visit www.angf35eis.com.
Three Macomb Community College students were recognized at the event for their award-winning designs out of 30 submission to commemorate the 2020 air show: Charles Zucal (third place); Mackenzie Johnson (second place); and Xandraya Rodriguez (first place), whose design will be minted on a special challenge coin.
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, who also attended Tuesday’s event, said when he started out as a Macomb County sheriff’s deputy 35 years earlier, he knew very little about Selfridge, the only Air National Guard Base in the nation that provides training and support for assigned units from the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Homeland Security and Border Patrol.
The base has two primary missions: a fighter mission with air and ground operations support and in-flight refueling for the U.S. military and allied nations’ aircraft.
“It is our hometown air base,” said Hackel. “There are a lot of people here who live in the community and then serve their country. Thank you all for doing what you do to protect our country.”