If you haven’t heard yet, there’s something abuzz in Macomb County! Selfridge Air National Guard Base is one of the top five national finalists competing to house a new type of fighter jet: the F-35.
And the movement to bring home the F-35 is now picking up speed, thanks to several letters of support written by leaders from around the county.
Robert J. Cannon, Clinton Township supervisor, writes, “Our community understands and appreciates the true impact that Selfridge has had on our region, our state, and our nation.” Cannon goes on to explain that Selfridge was home to the country’s first successful military relations committee, which made Mount Clemens into “a model for other military towns to follow.”
Selfridge has a rich history, and it only makes sense that its history should be taken into account here. As noted by Kathleen Lomako, president of the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition, Selfridge was “one of the first military airfields in the nation.” During the Second World War, the base was “able to produce new bombers at the rate of one every hour, something no one thought possible at the time.” Our area has a proud tradition of being part of our nation’s air-based defense system, and, as Lomako writes, many believe that tradition “should be extended into the next century” with the housing of the F-35.
Besides its historical significance, Selfridge also offers plenty of logistical advantages, including a new jet fuel storage and delivery system. The base is also home to all five branches of the military—a unique asset compared to other bases. Additionally, as stated by Cannon, Selfridge has “over 3,000 full-time civilian and military personnel” ready to support and defend the base.
Lomako adds that there are plenty of non-military factors that make Selfridge an ideal location for the F-35 as well. Selfridge is “located in one of the largest metropolitan areas of the country,” which means its employees will have access to an efficient airport and to other employment opportunities after their military careers have ended. They will also be in close proximity to a “full spectrum of educational, commercial, and recreational services, which is desirable for any personnel stationed at the base.”
Jenna Russell is a summer intern at the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. She is a senior at Oakland University.