For all those keeping America’s love affair with the military burning bright there is a special treat coming on Sept. 6 and 7. Michigan’s largest public military display will be available as Selfridge Air National Guard Base opens its doors wide with an open house that showcases equipment from the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Border Patrol and Customs & Homeland Security.
Around 75,000 spectators are expected to pour onto the base to get a free, firsthand look at the impressive display of military hardware over the two days. Tens of thousands more are expected to sit and watch the air show from vantage points outside the base. Admission to the Open House is free, as is the parking at the base.
The open house, typically held about every two or three years at the base, is one of the few times when the base is open to the general public. All of the aircraft types assigned to Selfridge will be on display with most of them flying in the air show.
“It takes a lot of work and planning to host an event of this magnitude, but to be able to use the event as a way to thank you to our neighbors, who have been so supportive of our military personnel over the years makes it more than worthwhile,” said Col. Philip Sheridan, 127th Wing commander and commander of the base.
If this kind of event is up your alley now is the time to check it out since the last show was in 2011 and the next is not planned until 2017. That one will coincide with the 100th anniversary of Selfridge and the 70th of the origin of the Air Force being its own branch.
The most well-known and iconic of the military’s high flyers, the US Navy Blue Angels, will be on site flying their F/A-18 Hornets on both days of the open house. A deeper, louder aircraft may be heard by locals around the base in the days before since the Angels will be arriving early and practicing their maneuvers in planes a bit different than those usually flown at Selfridge.
While in town the Blue Angels will give a stratosphere-soaring lift to Red Wing defenseman Danny DeKeyser and two local high school administrators who will fly with a Blue Angel pilot in one of their F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft on September 2.
Disney Elementary in Fraser and Fraser High School will also get a Blue Angels- flavored treat when U.S. Navy Commander Tom Frosch, a commanding officer, the lead Blue Angels pilot and an alumnus of both schools, speaks to an assembly of students at each on September 3.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II and KC-135 Stratotanker aircrafts will also be on display. The interesting draw of these two planes is that since the last open house in 2011, they have flown in combat by the Airmen of the 127th Wing. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base,
“These are the same aircraft flown by your friends and neighbors who serve their country here at Selfridge and from here are deployed to locations around the world, as needed to serve our national interests,” Sheridan said.
While the actual flying will not begin until later in the morning, the gates of the open house swing wide open at 8 a.m. sharp, with the day’s events concluding at 4 p.m. along with the planes being grounded. While the flying schedule is not published in advance, it will be the same on both days.
For those wishing an experience beyond the main features of the show more advantageous seating is available. Premium seating is available for $25 at the event and $20 in advance. You can get an even bigger upgrade with the luxury chalet at $50 for kids and $95 for adults beforehand and $55 for kids and $100 for adults at the show. Information on the seating options is available at www.selfridgeopenhouse.com.
Coolers are not allowed. However, concession stands will provide food and drink on a cash only basis. There will also be free water stations.
While coolers, backpacks, glass bottles and cooking equipment are prohibited, lawn chairs, strollers, fanny packs and small wagons are perfectly okay. Also on the approved list is camera equipment… so long as it can be easily carried, larger bags will not be allowed in. All items can be searched when patrons enter the base and open hose.
Here are a couple of other tips:
- Be prepared to walk, a lot. The average visitor could walk 2-5 miles just to experience everything in the show.
- Be careful and pay attention while walking around or through static aircraft displays. Some aircraft may have little headroom inside and some aircraft wingtips can be right at head level.
- Do not smoke on the ramp or spectator area.
- Pack your patience. Waiting in line to enter the show and to enter and exit the base takes some time. Be prepared for delays.
- Report suspicious activity to uniformed personnel.
- As with all outdoor activities pack sunscreen and stay hydrated.
Visitor access to Selfridge during the Open House may be made from the north or the south. From the north, enter the base’s main gate from Jefferson Avenue, at the junction of Jefferson and Rosso Highway (M-59). Those requiring handicap parking should enter at the main gate. The exit ramp (240) from Interstate 94 to Rosso Highway East and Rosso Highway along the base will be closed during the Open House. Jefferson may be accessed from 21 Mile, exit 241 on I-94.
From the south, visitors may exit I-94 at North River Road (exit 236) for access to a special Open House gate to the base. The Open House gate is located west of Bridgeview Road. Those requiring access to homes and businesses east of Selfridge along North River Road, should travel east on South River Road and use Bridgeview to transfer to North River Road.
Only personnel with current military identification cards will be allowed to enter the base at the Selfridge Golf Gate during the Open House.
Traffic signs, law enforcement and military personnel, along with other volunteers, will be on hand to direct traffic and parking.
Information on the Open House is available on the web at www.selfridgeopenhouse.com.