127th Wing welcomes new commander

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published May 10, 2019

 Brig. Gen. Rolf Mammen addresses soldiers and military personnel during a change of command  ceremony at Selfridge Air National Guard Base on May 4. Mammen takes over command of the 127th Wing from former Brig. Gen. John Slocum.

Brig. Gen. Rolf Mammen addresses soldiers and military personnel during a change of command ceremony at Selfridge Air National Guard Base on May 4. Mammen takes over command of the 127th Wing from former Brig. Gen. John Slocum.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Members of the 127th Wing have a new commander: a Michigan native whom the Selfridge Air National Guard Base community is very familiar with.

Col. Rolf E. Mammen, who most recently served as the director of operations at the Michigan Air National Guard at the Joint Force Headquarters in Lansing, is a command pilot with more than 3,000 flight hours.

Mammen earned a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from Michigan State University.

He was later commissioned by the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program and went on to complete his undergraduate pilot training at the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas.

The newly appointed general at Selfridge also served as an instructor pilot in the T-38 Talon beginning in 1988. He went on to teach advanced pilot training to students and instructors representing 12 participating NATO nations and held multiple leadership roles before joining the Michigan Air National Guard in 1994.

Mammen has commanded flight missions in both the C-26 Metroliner and the C-130 Hercules, and has flown numerous operations missions domestically and across the globe. In 2004, he deployed to Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait, where he served as operations officer with the 738th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

During his 22-year career at Selfridge, Mammen served in key roles such as 127th Wing inspector general, and commanding officer of both the 127th Maintenance Squadron and 127th Maintenance Group, before becoming vice wing commander in April 2016.

“I couldn’t be prouder to be standing here as a general officer,” Mammen said during a change of command ceremony at the base on May 4.

Mammen takes over the role of general following the retirement of Brig. Gen. John Slocum.

Slocum came to Macomb County to serve as base commander in November 2014. He announced his retirement earlier this year after 35 years serving the U.S. military.

During Slocum’s tenure, the 127th Wing, along with the men and women who serve the unit, achieved many milestones. Some of those include the Meritorious Unit Award for record of performance both in, and in support of, combat operations; the Carl A. Spaatz Award for being the top National Guard flying unit in the nation;  and the Macomb County Economic Development Partner of the Year for 2018.

Slocum, who resides in Macomb Township, previously said he’s still looking at his options for the future and has no immediate plans to leave an area he and his family, including his wife Jenny and daughter Keira, have come to love.

After his retirement became official on May 5, Slocum released a letter reflecting back on his military career that began on May 5, 1984.

“In my commissioning oath, I took a vow to uphold and defend the Constitution as well as to bear true faith and allegiance to this country,” Slocum said. “I will never un-take that oath. I love this country and what it stands for. I love Michigan and its unbridled opportunity. I have considered it one of the greatest honors of my life to have the privilege and opportunity to serve in uniform.”

During the ceremony, Mammen thanked his mentors and his family — including his wife Linda, their three children and his mother Hannah Mammen — for their support.

He also addressed Selfridge personnel in attendance.

“What we do isn’t normal and what we do is not routine,” said Mammen, who is now the 20th commander of the 127th Wing at Selfridge. “It’s not easy; it is hard, and it is absolutely necessary. Our communities and our nation depends on us to stand ready as part of our national security structure.”

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