Selfridge provides refuge to aircraft threatened by Irma

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published September 22, 2017

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Selfridge Air National Guard Base provided safe refuge to nine evacuated military aircraft from Naval Air Station Jacksonville just days before Hurricane Irma struck southern Florida last week.

Officials with the 127th Wing, the host unit at Selfridge, announced just days after the arrival of the evacuated P-3 Orions and P-8 Poseidons on Sept. 8 that they had also prepared to aid in relief efforts in both Florida and Texas, which experienced catastrophic flooding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

U.S. Air National Guard Master Sgt. Dave Kujawa said that since Aug. 29, men and women of the 127th Wing have provided logistical support to two active-duty components, placed four KC-135 Stratotankers on standby, and on Sept. 11 sent one KC-135 Stratotanker and its crew on an airlift support mission to Nebraska where they were scheduled to pick up 45 members of the Nebraska, Army National Guard for transport to Jacksonville to assist in recovery efforts.

A press release from Selfridge states that members of the 127th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Small Air Terminal, 171st Air Refueling Squadron, 127th Air Refueling Group, 127th Operations Group and Airfield Management have supported the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and augmented Texas and Florida National Guard domestic response in the wake of both storms.

Brig. Gen. John Slocum, commander of the 127th Wing, said prior to the arrival of the evacuated aircraft that they would remain at the base until evacuation orders in the Southeast were lifted.

Kujawa said on the morning of Sept. 13 that all but one of the aircraft were still in place at Selfridge, though it appeared some would be departing soon.

“One already left, and one was running with lights on this morning,” he said.

The 127th Wing operates two flying missions: the KC-135 Stratotanker and the A-10 Thunderbolt II. The base is also home to more than 40 tenant units, including those from each branch of the military and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, allowing the base a unique opportunity to support aviation missions from all branches of the military.

“We are ready to support anyone who needs to get out of the way of the hurricane.” Slocum said on Sept. 8.