Selfridge Air National Guard Base or Selfridge ANGB is an Air National Guard installation located in Harrison Township, Michigan, near Mount Clemens. Selfridge Field was one of thirty-two Air Service training camps established after the United States entry into World War I in April 1917.
SELFRIDGE ANGB AIRPORT HISTORY
The origins of Selfridge Air National Guard Base date to 1916 when a large tract of land on Lake St. Clair, Michigan, was acquired by the Packard Motor Car Company at the urging of Packard president Henry B. Joy, who took a great interest in aviation and led the company to begin developing aircraft engines for use in aircraft engaged in World War I combat in Europe. In the spring of 1917, lobbying began in Washington to locate a military airfield at the site of the Joy Aviation Field on Lake St. Clair. The United States had just officially entered World War I on 7 April. Proponents of the site pointed out the advantages of the field’s proximity to the auto capital of the nation and the availability of the lake for practice bombing.
In May 1917, it was announced that Joy Aviation Field would be included as a training Camp as part of the expansion of the Air Service, becoming one of only nine military airfields in the country at the time. The United States Army leased the 640 acres (260 ha) of land, and construction commenced immediately to provide the necessary road and rail access to the site. Within a month, the newspaper was reporting that 1,000 men were at work at the field constructing hangars, barracks, supply depots, machine shops and a school building. The name of the field had become Selfridge Field, in honor of the late Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge, who had perished in an airplane crash in 1908, the first military fatality of powered flight.
On 1 April 1, 1918 preparations got underway for the opening of a new gunnery school. Instructors were borrowed from the French, British and Canadian flying corps. By July 1918, Selfridge had reached its peak performance in gunnery training. Over 250 students were enrolled at one time, and on one occasion 52 planes were in the air over the field simultaneously. Classes were so filled that 150 Lewis air guns, 60 Lewis ground guns, 80 Marlin air guns, 90 camera guns and 10 aerial cameras were in use daily. By the end of World War I, the young base had 1,028 enlisted men and 200 officers. It had trained 72 pilots and 700. mechanics, and 1,002 men had attended gunnery school.
The 1918 Armistice with Germany ended World War I. The end of the war, however, produced some major changes. From a training field producing mechanics and gunners, Selfridge became a pursuit (fighter) field, but men who had enlisted for the duration of the war were being discharged, and no new students were being trained.
SELFRIDGE ANGB AIRPORT LOCATION
SELFRIDGE ANGB AIRPORT FACTS
Elevation: 580 ft .
Runway length available: 01/19 9000×150 ft.