After the recent rise in tensions in the Middle East, 127th Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Rolf Mammen said, “We are prepared if we get called.”

After the recent rise in tensions in the Middle East, 127th Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Rolf Mammen said, “We are prepared if we get called.”

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

‘We are prepared if we get called’

Selfridge commander discusses Middle East situation

By: Alex Szwarc | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published January 17, 2020


HARRISON TOWNSHIP — With the recent increase in tensions in the Middle East, some may be curious as to how a local military unit is responding.

On Jan. 3, a U.S. drone strike near the Baghdad International Airport in Iraq killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. The killing of Soleimani prompted Iranian leaders Jan. 7 to launch ballistic missiles against two Iraqi bases with U.S. forces that resulted in no casualties.

When asked how the 127th Wing, based at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township, has been impacted by the ongoing situation, Brig. Gen. Rolf Mammen, the wing commander, said he had to be very careful in his response.

“We do have our intel folks that brief me and tell me what’s going on,” he said Jan. 9. “The military is very good at one thing — we plan. We’re always looking at different options and thinking about how things affect. It’s not just local. It’s throughout the entire organization. It may be things we take off the shelf, or have we considered this and what it means.”

Mammen said there are a lot of what-ifs and questions that come up in cases like this.

“We are prepared if we get called,” he said. “We have an ongoing commitment to things we’re doing around the globe, and we deployed over 500 people last year to different parts of the globe, and we’ll be deploying people this year to different parts of the globe as part of a regular routine process, a rhythm we’ve been in for years.”

The brigadier general said there are currently no members of the 127th Wing deployed in Iraq or Iran.

On Jan. 9, U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Dryden, released a statement indicating that he voted against the Iran war powers resolution.

The resolution, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, restricts President Donald Trump’s authority to strike Iran without congressional approval.

“President Trump’s strike against Qassem Soleimani was tactically sound and well within his powers as commander in chief,” Mitchell stated.

On Jan. 3, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, released a statement after the deadly airstrike.

“Soleimani was responsible for the death of many American service members and inciting chaos throughout the Middle East. However, a single action without a meaningful plan will lead to more risk for Americans at home and abroad,” she said. states that in the days since the Jan. 3 drone strike, roughly 9,000 conventional troops have been deployed to the Middle East.