Brig. Gen. Rolf Mammen, the 127th Wing commander, speaks at the Selfridge 2020 Open House and Air Show announcement Oct. 8. The event is scheduled for June 6-7, 2020.

Brig. Gen. Rolf Mammen, the 127th Wing commander, speaks at the Selfridge 2020 Open House and Air Show announcement Oct. 8. The event is scheduled for June 6-7, 2020.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Selfridge announces plans for 2020 air show

Event will feature combat search and rescue with Vietnam-era aircraft

By: Alex Szwarc | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published October 11, 2019

 Macomb Community College student Xandraya Rodriguez, 23, of Harrison Township, won the coin design contest for the Selfridge 2020 Open  House and Air Show.

Macomb Community College student Xandraya Rodriguez, 23, of Harrison Township, won the coin design contest for the Selfridge 2020 Open House and Air Show.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Advertisement

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Here’s to “The Next 100 Years.”

Every three years, Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township hosts an air show and open house. The theme for the last show, in 2017, was “The First 100 Years.” Next year’s theme is “The Next 100 Years.”  

On Oct. 8, a panel of base and local community leaders gathered outside Selfridge Military Air Museum to announce the Selfridge 2020 Open House and Air Show, scheduled for June 6-7, 2020.

Brig. Gen. Rolf Mammen, the 127th Wing commander, said the free event is an opportunity for the base to open its gates and let the community in to see what it’s all about.

“The Michigan National Guard pride ourselves in being a cornerstone of Michigan communities,” Mammen said. “We live, work and go to school in the community, and when called upon, we come out and serve our community.”

He added that Selfridge has a fantastic relationship with Macomb County.

Brig. Gen. Bryan Teff, the newly appointed Michigan Air National Guard commander, said the guard is looking forward to the air show.

“This is, without a doubt, the largest military-community outreach event in the state of Michigan,” he said. “The partnerships we build with the community are super important.”  

As part of the announcement, winners of the official challenge coin design contest were recognized.

For centuries, coins have been an important part of military service. Presenting a service member with a coin is one way that leaders show appreciation for hard work and dedication.

The contest was a collaboration between Selfridge, the Selfridge Base Community Council, 127th Wing leadership and the Macomb Community College art department.

Macomb Community College President Jim Sawyer said the college recognizes the value of Selfridge to the community.

“When we were approached for the centennial celebration, we couldn’t pass it up,” he said. “Giving our students an opportunity to do real projects is very impressive.”  

The contest was open to Selfridge employees and Macomb Community College students. Thirty designs were submitted.

Student Xandraya Rodriguez, 23, of Harrison Township, won the contest, and her design will be depicted on the council’s commemorative air show coin.

The front of Rodriguez’s coin shows the state of Michigan, with the American flag in the background, six aircraft and the 127th Wing’s logo. The back includes “SELFRIDGE OPEN HOUSE THE NEXT 100 YEARS” and two aircraft.

Students Mackenzie Johnson and Charles Zucal came in second and third place, respectively. Artists were asked to connect the base and local community in their designs and explain their roles in Macomb County, the state, the nation and the world.

Mammen said future innovations, modern weapon systems and military capabilities will be on display at the air show.

He estimated that around 212,000 people attended the 2017 air show, with another 100,000 on Lake St. Clair. That air show celebrated 100 years of military aviation at Selfridge.

In addition to Selfridge assets such as the A-10 Warthog and the KC-135 Stratotanker, numerous other acts will be coming to the air show. Most of the military acts will be announced in December.

Always looking to honor military veterans, the 2020 air show will highlight Vietnam veterans.

“We have a full live-action combat search and rescue with Vietnam-era aircraft coming to the show,” Air Show Director Lt. Col. Brian Donnellon said.

A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial will be on display to honor those who died in the conflict.

Over 30 warbirds, or vintage military aircraft, will be part of the air show, making it the largest number of warbirds in the air show’s history.

“Many will be flying, but many will be open to the public,” Donnellon said. “Every era of flying will be represented.”

The night before the air show opens, June 5, a hangar party and concert is scheduled where guests can meet air show performers. A headliner for the concert will be announced at a later date.    

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said the connection between Selfridge and the community has never been stronger.

“With the air show, we’re going to be giving an incredible amount of effort for people to realize how important this base is to the community,” he said.  

Donnellon said it costs between $600,000 and $850,000 for Selfridge to host an air show.

To learn more about the open house and air show, visit the 127th Wing Facebook page or download the free 127th Wing app from the Apple Store and Google Play.

Advertisement