Historic Landing of Michigan Air Guard Aircraft in Alpena a Success

ALPENA —Thursday, history was made by members of the Michigan National Guard’s 127th Wing, Selfridge Air National Guard Base. The Michigan Air Guard made a successful landing of a modern military aircraft on a U.S. highway.

The training event, named “Thunder Landing Zone (LZ),” is part of the Michigan National Guard’s annual, multinational military training event, Northern Strike.

“Thunder LZ gave the pilots the opportunity to land in an austere environment that they’re not used to,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brian Wyrzykowski. mission commander for Thunder LZ, in a press release from Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

The Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan State Police have been involved throughout the process of closing down M-32 for the exercise.

“They brought us in early so we’ve been there to offer our perspective of what it means to close the highway and checking to make sure the highway is prepared to handle an event like today,” says James Lake, Communications Representative for MDOT North Region.

The road was closed from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and drivers were detoured from M-65, Werth Road and U.S. 23. Some people in the area likely experienced power outages during the five hour window.

“We actually met with those homeowners directly and the level of support we received from the direct interactions has been, in my mind, unprecedented,” said Col. Jim Rossi, commander of Alpena CRTC, in the release.“They’re such a patriotic group of Americans that are up here, willing to support and are as excited as we are to make this happen.”