Selfridge Open House inspires young fans and photographers
Harrison Township, Michigan — Elizabeth Woollcott woke up early and arrived at the gates of Selfridge National Air Force Base at 8am on Sunday because she has a dream.
Woollcott, 15, has dreamed of flying since she was introduced to flight as a young girl by her uncle, a Black Hawk pilot.
She traveled to an open house and air show hosted by the Michigan National Guard’s 127th Wing at Selfridge National Guard Base, which featured air acts and displays showcasing the US army. Woollcott sat in some of the aircraft on display, watched the show, and intended to speak with military recruiters.
“I’m thinking about what part of the military I want to go to,” said Woollcott, an incoming junior at Rochester Adams High School. “I couldn’t decide if I wanted to fly helicopters for the military or fly only for the navy or air force. Hopefully seeing them in action will give me the answer I need .”
Crowds poured in over the weekend for Selfridge’s free event, which featured at least 30 World War I and II aircraft, including 127 Wing’s own KC-135 Stratotanker and A-10 Thunderbolt and many military ground vehicles.
Aerial displays kicked off on Sunday with the Misty Blues, an all-female skydiving display team. Officials said that of the 35,000 active skydivers in North America, only 12% are women.
The first of the Misty Blues team, Kristen Tebo, jumped out of a plane and parachuted to the ground with a 60-pound American flag flapping in the wind as patrons stood up and the “Star Spangled Banner” played.
Another member of the Misty Blues team, Amanda Scheffler, jumped with the Canadian flag to welcome the spectators of the show from Canada.
The show also included the USAF’s F-22 Raptor, C-17 Globemaster III, A-10 Thunderbolt II, KC-135 Stratotanker, C-130 Hercules, USA’s CH-47 Chinook US Army, Golden Knights Elite Parachute Team, US Coast. Guard MH-65 Dolphin and CF-18 of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
“Open houses and air shows give us the opportunity to share what your Hometown Air Force is doing here in southeast Michigan,” said Brig. Gen. Rolf E. Mammen, 127th Wing commander and base commander. “We will showcase Selfridge as a cornerstone of Michigan communities and seek to strengthen local partnerships in the process.”
Those who came to see brought lawn chairs to see the show under sunny blue skies. Many photographed the aerial displays.
Among the crowd was Rudolph Miller Jr., 34, of Chesterfield Township. He said he hoped to see the F-22 raptor.
“It’s probably America’s most advanced fighter, and I’ve been a fan of it in various video game media,” Miller said.
While he waited, he was able to see one of the first aircraft ever built, the Curtiss JN series, also known as “Jenny”.
He came with his parents, Brenda Miller and Rudolph Miller Sr. The family came to the annual show several times.
“It’s exceptional,” said Rudolph Miller Sr., who said he served in the military from 1980 to 2000.