Crew Chief SSgt Williams Bowers from the 191st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron performs a routine maintenance inspection on a KC-135 Stratotanker while engines are running at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., June 8, 2013. Bowers was pleased to report that the inspection showed the --C135 to be in perfect working order. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by TSgt. David Kujawa) (Released)
Crew Chief SSgt. Williams Bowers from the 191st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron performs a ground inspection on a KC-135 Stratotanker, looking for hydraulic leaks while the engines are running at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., June 8, 2013. Bowers was pleased to report that the inspection showed the tanker's hydraulic system to be in perfect working order. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by TSgt. David Kujawa) (Released)
7/1/2013 - SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- Counting both real-world scenarios and exercises, more than a quarter of the Citizen-Airmen assigned to the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base have been forward deployed through the first eight months of Fiscal Year 2013, which began in October 2012.
While the number includes a sizable contingent of personnel who deployed on one of two major training exercises in Arizona with the 127th Wing's A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft, it also includes Airmen who have been sent to Afghanistan, Germany, South Africa and the Pacific Ocean island of Guam.
As of last week, 28 Airmen of the 1,600-member 127th were deployed, all supported real-world missions. In total, 445 Airmen from the wing had deployed on a variety of missions away from Selfridge during the eight month period.
"The last several months really are quite typical of what happens around the wing on a year in and year out basis," said Col. Phillip Sheridan, vice commander of the 127th Wing. "Sometimes in groups of a couple hundred people, plus aircraft, and sometimes a single Airman to fill a critical vacancy somewhere, our people continue to answer the call.
"Quite frankly, most of the time it is done without much fanfare, particularly when it is only a single individual or just a couple of Airmen, but our people continue to raise their hand, to step forward and do the nation's work," Sheridan said.
Among the continuing deployment tasks for the 127th Wing is an ongoing, rolling mobilization requirement for Airmen in the 127th Air Refueling Group, which operates the KC-135 Stratotanker. At any given time, a team of about a dozen Airmen - pilots, boom operators and a small cadre of maintenance personnel - from the group are deployed, along with one of the unit's aircraft, to a location in southwestern Asia for support of operations in the Central Command region, which includes Afghanistan. These short-term deployments have been in continuous operation since late 2011. In addition, over the past three years, the 127th ARG has deployed a contingent of about 20 Airmen with one or two aircraft twice a year, for just over a month at a time, to Guam for support of various operations in the Pacific Command. During deployments to Geilenkirchen, Germany, generally about twice a year, about 30 ARG Airmen, with a KC-135 or two, support a variety of NATO operations and aircraft.
Comprised of approximately 1,600 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operations Command by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which is also home to units of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection.