National Guard Bureau proposes beddown at Selfridge

Base wasn’t selected in 2017

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published September 13, 2019

 The National Guard Bureau held a public meeting for the F-35A aircraft beddown at the L’Anse Creuse Public Schools Wheeler Community Center in Clinton Township Sept. 10. Selfridge is one of five proposed locations.

The National Guard Bureau held a public meeting for the F-35A aircraft beddown at the L’Anse Creuse Public Schools Wheeler Community Center in Clinton Township Sept. 10. Selfridge is one of five proposed locations.

Photo by Alex Szwarc

MACOMB COUNTY — Around two dozen residents attended a public meeting regarding a possible beddown involving the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.  

The National Guard Bureau, or NGB, held the public meeting for the F-35A aircraft beddown at the L’Anse Creuse Public Schools Wheeler Community Center in Clinton Township Sept. 10.

This comes two years after the Harrison Township base wasn’t selected to house the F-35s. If the 127th Wing is selected this time, 18 F-35A aircraft would be based at the installation to replace 18 A-10s currently at the base.

An open house was held prior to a formal presentation.

The presentation panel consisted of Brig. Gen. Rolf Mammen, commander of the 127th Wing at Selfridge; Mark Paasche, environmental manager of the 127th Wing; and Ramon Ortiz, NGB program manager.

The NGB prepared a draft environmental impact statement, or EIS, to evaluate the potential environmental consequences from the proposed beddown of 18 F-35A aircraft at two of five alternative locations, including Selfridge.

Other units under consideration are the 115th Fighter Wing from Madison, Wisconsin; the 124th Fighter Wing from Boise, Idaho; the 125th Fighter Wing from Jacksonville, Florida; and the 187th Fighter Wing from Montgomery, Alabama.

The proposal would involve the beddown of one F-35A squadron at each of two locations. Each squadron would consist of 18 aircraft and two backup aircraft, establishing two F-35A operations.

If Selfridge is selected, Mammen said that by 2024, the F-35s would fly up to 6,746 operations a year, compared to 5,098 currently flown with the A-10s. If it’s not selected, the A-10s would remain for the foreseeable future.

The secretary of the Air Force announced that the 115th Fighter Wing and the 187th Fighter Wing are the two preferred alternatives, pending the results of the EIS.

“Although the preferred alternatives have been announced, no final decision has been made,” Mammen said. “Until the secretary makes the final decision, all alternatives are under consideration.”

Paasche provided an overview of the environmental consequences at Selfridge.

“The draft EIS evaluates the 13 resources of implementation of the proposed action,” he said.

Those include noise, airspace, air quality and safety.

“With the exception of noise, there would be few impacts for basing the F-35A at Selfridge,” Paasche said. “Aircraft noise and its impact to the community represent the primary concern.”

A public comment period began Aug. 9 and goes through Sept. 27. During that time, the public can review the EIS and provide comments on the analysis in writing or at the public meetings.

The meetings served as a forum for the NGB to collect public comments and concerns regarding the potential environmental impacts of the proposal.

All relevant comments received will be reviewed and incorporated, as appropriate, into the final EIS for Air Force consideration during its decision-making process.

Ortiz said the goal of preparing the EIS is to support sound decisions through the assessment of potential environmental impacts.

The next step of the process is the publication of the EIS in January. The announcement for which locations have been chosen is expected in February.

In December 2017, Selfridge was not selected to house the F-35A fighter jet. Selfridge was among five National Guard bases considered for hosting, maintaining and training the F-35As.

A copy of the EIS can be viewed by visiting ANGF35EIS.com.