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500 airmen return to Selfridge after fighting ISIL. We thank them for their service and sacrifice

A pilot with the 127th Wing's 107th Fighter Squadron from Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., reunites with his family after a six-month deployment

Over the past six months, more than 500 airmen from the 127th Wing of the Michigan National Guard have been in Southwest Asia fighting to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL as part of Operation Inherent Resolve and other missions. They’ve returned home to Selfridge Air National Guard Base over the past few weeks.

This was the longest deployment of Selfridge airmen since the Korean War. According to local 127th Wing records, having 500 airmen deployed from the 1,700-member Wing at a single time has not happened since that war ended in 1953.

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“Our Airmen – and their families – have been fully engaged. It is with great gratitude and respect for a job well done that we welcome them home,” said Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, commander of the 127th Wing at Selfridge.

We all know freedom is never free. It requires sacrifice.

Deployments are hard on families. The airmen leave young children. They don’t see their babies born. They miss school functions. Above all they miss family and friends. I can relate. My cousin is in the National Guard in another state and is deployed overseas. She left behind her young children and family.

(Note: There is no audio with these videos.)

Those sent overseas from Selfridge included 350 who flew or performed maintenance on A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft at Selfridge. The A-10 pilots sported 1,600 sorties and logged almost 11,000 combat flight hours. The A-10 is principally an air-to-ground attack aircraft and is affectionately called the Warthog.

An A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft of the 127th Wing's 107th Fighter Squadron

An A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft of the 127th Wing’s 107th Fighter Squadron

Smaller contingents of airmen from the KC-135 Stratotanker units were deployed for two- and three-months. The pilots of these air-to-air refueling craft logged 2,200 combat hours. That aircraft also can be configured to carry injured personnel or troops and cargo.

“Many of our airmen are now enjoying a hard-earned period of rest and recovery,” Slocum said. “I cannot emphasize enough how proud I am of each one of them.”

At Detroit Unspun we want to thank them for their service and sacrifice and for working every day to keep us free.

A homecoming celebration event will be held on Dec 6.

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