350 Selfridge Airmen Deploy

150411-Z-EZ686-183 -- A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft from Selfridge Air National Guard Base seen in flight while deploying to Southwest Asia earlier in April. The aircraft are flown by the 107th Fighter Squadron at Selfridge. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. David Kujawa)

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Approximately 350 Airmen and 12 A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft from Selfridge Air National Guard Base have deployed to Southwest Asia in support of U.S. Central Command activities there, including Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), Major Gen. Gregory J. Vadnais, the adjutant general of Michigan, announced today. OIR is the operation to eliminate the terrorist group known as ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The Selfridge Airmen deployed earlier this month and are now on station and engaged in daily missions as part of OIR, said Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, 127th Wing commander at Selfridge.

The deployed Airmen are all members of the Air National Guard. Deployed units include the 107th Fighter Squadron, the 127th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, the 127th Maintenance Squadron and the 127th Operations Support Squadron. A few Airmen from other squadrons are also on the deployment. All of the units involved are components of the 127th Wing.

“Today, our Michigan Airmen are fully engaged in the fight,” Vadnais said. “We could not be more proud of the work that they are already doing and the way they have answered their nation’s call.”

Slocum said the current deployment by the Selfridge Airmen is scheduled to last about six months. This deployment is the longest, large-scale deployment of Selfridge Airmen since the Selfridge A-10s and related Airmen deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in late 2011-early 2012. Additional deployments of Selfridge Airmen and KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft are planned for later this year. In total, more than 500 Selfridge Airmen are expected to deploy to operations in 2015 - about double the number of each of the past two years.

“The Airmen of the 127th Wing are proving once again that they have the right skills, the right training - and the right aircraft - needed to support our national interests,” Slocum said.

“Our A-10 Airmen have trained extensively here in Michigan, at the air gunnery range in Grayling, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona and in several other training exercises. They are ready, they are willing and they are more than capable,” Slocum said.

The 107th Fighter Squadron is one of the oldest flying units in the nation, first established in World War I, and is the oldest flying unit in the Michigan National Guard. The squadron is known as the “Red Devils” and has been flying the A-10 Thunderbolt II, informally known as the “Warthog,” since 2008.

While deployed the Michigan units will be assigned to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing. Family, friends and supporters of the deployed Airmen may wish to follow the 386th at http://www.afcent.af.mil/Units/386thAirExpeditionaryWing.aspx or https://www.facebook.com/386thAEW

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