Michael Peplinski, the former commander of the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township, has died at 63.
The Macomb resident died at home on Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, according to his obituary.
Peplinski led the 127th Wing, the host and U.S. Air Force unit at Selfridge that includes more than 1,500 personnel, from 2006 until 2011.
It flies the KC-135 Stratotanker, a global air-refueling aircraft, and the A-10 Thunderbolt II, an air support attack aircraft, according to the website. The wing also has a combat weather flight assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command.
Under his command, the 127th Wing participated in three Aerospace Expeditionary Force deployments to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, deployed more than 3,500 airmen as well as executed more than 14,000 flying hours, officials have said.
Before that, in 2004, he served as commander during a deployment of Selfridge airmen and F-16 aircraft to Iraq, state officials said.
When Peplinski retired as brigadier general in 2011, then-state Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais said he “led the 127th Wing through a remarkable period of transition,” Vadnais said. “Under his leadership, the wing changed from flying F-16 and C-130 aircraft to flying A-10s and KC-135s. During that time, Michigan’s Citizen-Airmen could not have asked for a better leader than Mike Peplinski.”
Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller recalled him as a constant presence at Selfridge.
“I worked closely with Brig. Gen. Peplinski all the years he was the Wing commander when I was in Congress,” she said in a statement. “After he retired, he volunteered to serve as an advisor on my military academy nominating board. RIP, great patriot.”
Born Sept. 18, 1957, in Marlette, Peplinski grew up in the Thumb region watching planes from Selfridge train overhead, The Detroit News reported.
He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1979 and served as an officer in the Air Force and Michigan Air National Guard for more than 30 years, according to his obituary.
Peplinski was a command pilot with more than 3,200 hours of flight time in the F-16, state officials said.
He was active with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the National Guard Association of the United States, the National Guard Association of Michigan and the Airlift Tanker Association, according to his obituary.
Survivors include his wife of 10 years, Donna Kay; sons Michael II and Jeffrey; six grandchildren; a stepson, Nicholas Hibbard; sisters Judy Gough, Lori Davis and Cheri Peart; and a brother, Paul.
He was predeceased by parents Lawrence and Beverly Peplinski; and his wife, Peggy Videssa.
Visitation is scheduled for 2-8 p.m. Aug. 23 at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home, 46530 Romeo Plank, Macomb.
A funeral is set for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Colonial Woods Missionary Church, 3240 Pine Grove Ave., Port Huron.
Peplinski is slated to receive military honors during a service at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Great Lakes National Cemetery, Holly.
Memorials may be made to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
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