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 Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, commander of the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, announced this week that he will be retiring from the military after 35 years of service.

Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, commander of the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, announced this week that he will be retiring from the military after 35 years of service.

File photo by Sean Work

Slocum announces retirement from Selfridge

Air national guard base commander served country for 35 years

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published March 6, 2019

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — After 35 years serving the U.S. military, Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, commander of the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base has announced his retirement.

Slocum came to Macomb County to serve as base commander in November 2014.

A self-proclaimed “Army brat,” Slocum was born in Massachusetts where his father was a pilot for the U.S. Air Force. The family moved extensively around the country, and Slocum eventually followed in his father’s footsteps when he completed his undergraduate pilot training from Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi in 1985. He had received his bachelor’s degree in political science the year prior from East Carolina University — where he received his Air Force Commission — in North Carolina.

In 1986, he completed F-4 Basic Training at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida, as well as Squadron Officer’s School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.

Slocum said his longest stint was in Arizona, where he completed F-16 basic training and a F-16 Instructor Pilot Upgrade Course at Luke Air Force Base. He later attended Air Command and Staff College in Alabama in 1994, and Air War College.

During his eight years of active duty, he served as an F-4E pilot at Moody Air Force Base, in Georgia. In 1992, Slocum joined the Arizona Air National Guard and served in a variety of Operations Group and headquarters-staff positions. In 2003, he led the Operations Group F-16E/F Block 60 F-16 conversion, airworthiness certification and academic development for the 162nd Fighter Wing. He was in the initial pilot cadre for standing up F-16E/F Block 60 pilot training for the United Arab Emirates and wrote more than 150 flight training and safety academic lessons and textbooks. As the Chief of Safety, he authored the Air National Guard's indigenous human factors for maintenance training curriculum (maintenance resource management), and presented the curriculum to more than 40,000 Airmen.

Slocum is a command pilot with more than 4,100 flying hours, and has flown several aircraft, including the F-4 Phantom, the F-16 Falcon, the A-10 Warthog, and the KC-135 Stratotanker.

According to a press release issued by Selfridge officials on March 5, during Slocum’s tenure, the 127th Wing, along with the men and women who serve the unit, has achieved many milestones. Some of those include 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.

The community celebrated Selfridge’s centennial anniversary in 2017, which culminated in an airshow and open house, earning the 127th Wing two International Council of Airshow Gold Pinnacle Awards. There have been several successful deployments of both flying units including combat deployments, Operations Northern Strike and Saber Strike, as well as exemplary inspections, and the 127th Wing’s participation in last year’s 74th Anniversary of D-Day celebration.

Additionally, Slocum was inducted into the Macomb County Hall of Fame and presented an honorary Doctorate in Laws from Walsh College.

“Serving the men and women of the 127th Wing, Team Selfridge, the 45 tenant partners, and the absolutely fantastic community we have around here who supports everything we do has been such an honor,” Slocum said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better appointment.

“I am confident the great advancements we’ve made within the 127th Wing and the strong community partnerships we've built will be carried forward by our outstanding Airmen.”

Slocum said he felt four years as base commander was “enough time in command.”

“It’s an appropriate thing to do; to give other people the opportunity. We have a lot of great leadership here.”

Slocum, who resides in Macomb Township, 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.

“I am profoundly honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve beside so many great Michiganders — in and out of uniform,” he said. “This has been the pinnacle of my military career.”

A retirement ceremony will take place on May 4, and there will be a Change of Command Ceremony on base May 5 where Slocum will pass the 127th Wing guidon to Col. Rolf E. Mammen, currently the director of operations for the Michigan Air National Guard.

“I served an oath of service to these men and women and that's not going to stop on the fifth of May,” Slocum said.