By Edward Cardenas

HARRISON TOWNSHIP (CBS Detroit) – Personnel and aircraft from Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township have been deployed to join the fight against ISIS.

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Maj. Gen. Gregory J. Vadnais, the Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard, announced Tuesday that approximately 350 airmen and 12 A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft from the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard have been deployed he Middle East as part of Operation Inherent Resolve to help in the fight against ISIS.

“It is a very serious fight,” Vadnais told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill at Selfridge. “It is a direct threat to this nation.”

The men, women and aircraft from 127th Wing at Selfridge deployed this past weekend for a six-month mission, and are now engaged in daily missions in support of the operation.

Michigan Airmen prepare to depart Selfridge Air National Guard Base for a deployment to Southwest Asia. Sending off the Airmen are, from left, Major Gen. Gregory J. Vadnais, adjutant general of Michigan; Brig. Gen. Leonard W. Isabelle, Jr., commander of the Michigan Air National Guard; and Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, commander of the 127th Wing at Selfridge. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. David Kujawa)

Michigan Airmen prepare to depart Selfridge Air National Guard Base for a deployment to Southwest Asia. Sending off the Airmen are, from left, Major Gen. Gregory J. Vadnais, adjutant general of Michigan; Brig. Gen.
Leonard W. Isabelle, Jr., commander of the Michigan Air National Guard; and Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, commander of the 127th Wing at Selfridge. (U.S.
Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. David Kujawa)

“The Airmen of the 127th Wing are proving once again that they have the right skills, the right training – and the right aircraft – needed to support our national interests,” said Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, 127th Wing commander at Selfridge, in a release. “Our A-10 Airmen have trained extensively here in Michigan, at the air gunnery range in Grayling, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona and in several other training exercises. They are ready, they are willing and they are more than capable.”

This is the longest, large scale mission for airmen from Selfridge since a deployment to Afghanistan in late 2011 to early 2012.

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“The brave airmen and women who serve in the 127th Wing have always answered the call to serve and defend this country and fight for the liberties and freedoms we hold dear,” U.S. Rep. Candice Miller said in a statement. “For their continued service to this nation and to their families, who share in the sacrifice, we are forever grateful, and we pray for their success and safety as they embark on this new mission.”

She added that the mission highlights the importance of the A-10 ‘Warthog’ aircraft, which are being proposed to be retired in the 2016 federal budget.

“This deployment is a true testament to the vital role our National Guard plays in national defense and to the effectiveness of the A-10 ‘Warthog’ in combat, which is why I will continue to fight for the aircraft and stop shortsighted efforts to divest the fleet,” she wrote.

A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft from Selfridge Air National Guard Base seen in flight while deploying to Southwest Asia earlier in April. The aircraft are flown by the 107th Fighter Squadron at Selfridge. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. David Kujawa)

A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft from Selfridge Air National Guard Base seen in flight while deploying to Southwest Asia earlier in April. The aircraft are flown by the 107th Fighter Squadron at Selfridge.
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. David Kujawa)

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters also stated his support for the aircraft in a release.

“The deployment of these Airmen and the A-10 aircraft they operate and maintain demonstrates the effectiveness of the A-10 in the close air support mission and the importance of keeping these aircraft in service,” he wrote. “The brave men and women in the National Guard always stand ready to serve and defend our nation against those wishing to do us harm, and America’s military is the strongest in the world thanks in no small part to the National Guard units in Michigan and across the country.”

Additional deployments of Selfridge airmen, and KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft, are planned for later this year. More than 500 Selfridge Airmen are expected to deploy to operations in 2015 – about double the number of each of the past two years, officials stated.

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This story was updated at 11:52 p.m. April 22.