Executive Director Lou Nigro has a difficult time choosing a favorite among the more than two dozen aircrafts on display at the Selfridge Military Air Museum and Air Park.  His circuitous walk among the planes, which range from a replica of the French-built SPAD, a World War I biplane to a Cobra—a two-bladed, tandem seat attack helicopter.
He winds up with a tie: Either the C-130A Hercules or the C-131D Samaritan, both of which he flew during his tenure as an Operations Group and mission commander at Selfridge. 

Co-author of ‘Selfridge Field’, a definitive history of the base, Lt. Col. Nigro’s storehouse of knowledge bubbles to the surface at nearly every juncture of a Selfridge tour:  “The base itself is named for Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge, the first U.S. military officer to die in an aviation accident while flying with Orville Wright at Fort Myer,” Nigro explains.  “We opened in 1917 and were the home of the 1st Pursuit Group, the oldest combat group in the Air Force.  It’s amazing the list of aviation heroes whose feats were seen here: Charles Lindbergh, Jimmy Doolittle, and Curtis LeMay, to name a few.  So many aviators achieved the top rank in the military that the base is nicknamed, ‘Home of the Generals.’
As a historical footnote, Nigro adds: “Lieutenant LeMay was once fined $50 for flying through Hangar # 6 at Selfridge in a bi-wing.”

The retired officer is proud of Selfridge’s link with the Tuskegee Airmen.  “That’s not what they were called during World War II—that’s a nickname they picked up afterward.  But this was their home during that war, and we still have an active Tuskegee Airmen Chapter in Detroit.”

Selfridge, which in 1971 became the first major active Air Force base to come under control of the Air National Guard, is the home of many diversified units of all the armed services.

The Selfridge Military Air Museum and Air Park will remain open to the general public through October. Admission is $4.00 per guest over the age of 12 and $3.00 for children between 4 and 12.  The Museum and Air Park can be opened at other times by  appointment for groups and/or individuals by contacting Lou Nigro at 586-239-6768. 



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