Travis Air Force Base (IATA: SUU, ICAO: KSUU, FAA LID: SUU) is a United States Air Force air base under the operational control of the Air Mobility Command (AMC), located three miles (5 km) east of the central business district of Fairfield, in Solano County, California, United States. The base is named for Brigadier General Robert F. Travis, who died in the crash of a B-29 Superfortress while transporting a nuclear weapon.
The host unit at Travis AFB is the 60th Air Mobility Wing. The 60th AMW is the largest wing in the Air Force's Air Mobility Command, with a versatile fleet of 26 C-5 Galaxies, 27 KC-10 Extenders, and 13 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.
Components of the 60th AMW are:
Situated in the San Francisco Bay Area and known as the "Gateway to the Pacific", Travis Air Force Base handles more cargo and passenger traffic through its airport than any other military air terminal in the United States. The base has a long and proud history of supporting humanitarian airlift operations at home and around the world. Today, Travis AFB includes approximately 7,260 active USAF military personnel, 4,250 Air Force Reserve personnel and 3,770 civilians.
Travis AFB has a major impact on the community as a number of military families and retirees have chosen to make Fairfield their permanent home. Travis AFB is the largest employer in the City and Solano County as well, and the massive Travis workforce has a local economic impact of more than $1 billion annually. The Base also contributes a large number of highly skilled people to the local labor pool.
In addition, the base's former Strategic Air Command Alert Facility is now a U.S. Navy complex that typically supports 2 transient Navy E-6B Mercury TACAMO aircraft assigned to Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron THREE (VQ-3) Detachment and normally home-based at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma.
The base is also host to David Grant USAF Medical Center, a 265-bed, $200 million Air Force teaching hospital, which serves both in-service and retired military personnel.
Travis AFB also plays host to the Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum, one of the largest collections of military aircraft on the west coast.
Museum of Military Aviation History: The Museum has a representative collection of American military aircraft from various periods: fighters, bombers, trainers, cargo and liaison aircraft. Its exhibits showcase Jimmy Doolittle and the Tokyo Raiders, the 15th AF in WW II, the Tuskegee Airmen, the Consairways story, the Berlin Airlift, and the history of Travis AFB with special emphasis on the Korean war, the Vietnam war and other significant military missions.
Additional Attractions: Other exhibits include a space capsule for children, air force uniforms, the nose of a WWII glider, WWII aircraft recognition models, a Link Trainer, aircraft engines, and the cockpits of a T-28, a T-37, and an F-100.
| || |
Reference for major commands assigned and major units assigned.
Originally named Fairfield-Suisun Army Air Base, construction began on Travis in June 1942. Initially, Fourth Air Force intended to station medium attack bombers at the new air base, and in the autumn of 1942, some of its aircraft used the runways for practice landings. During this period, United States Navy planes also practiced maneuvers at the same field. For a few months, in fact, the outline of the deck of an aircraft carrier was painted on one runway. This helped newly commissioned Navy pilots, flying F6F Hellcats and SB2C Helldivers, practice carrier landings and takeoffs before they were assigned to the Pacific Fleet.
Despite its plans, Fourth Air Force never officially occupied the base. On October 13, 1942, following negotiations that had begun in September, the War Department assigned the new facility to the Air Transport Command (ATC) in recognition of the base's potential to become a major aerial port and supply transfer point for the Pacific War Zone. Its proximity to rail, highway, and water transportation plus its location near San Francisco figured heavily in this decision. ATC assigned the airfield to the West Coast Sector of its Pacific Wing.
The first unit to take up permanent residence at the airfield was a group of ten enlisted men and one officer from the 914th Quartermaster Division at Hamilton Field. These supply and food service workers arrived on May 10, 1943 to prepare the base for the arrival, in turn, of the first ATC personnel. One week later, on May 17, ATC officially activated Fairfield-Suisun AAB and activated the 23rd Ferrying (later Transport) Group on May 29, 1943. The base's primary mission during World War II was ferrying aircraft and supplies to the Pacific Theater.
By the end of World War II, Fairfield-Suisun AAB had become the West Coast's largest aerial port. The airlift of troops and supplies to occupied Japan and Korea, and the processing of war-weary returning GI's, had become its primary mission. Following the establishment of the United States Air Force as a separate service in 1947, the installation was renamed Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base. On June 1, 1948, the Military Air Transport Service assumed jurisdiction of the base. In July, two of the base's air transport squadrons left for USAFE to assist in the Berlin Airlift.
On May 1, 1949, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) became the parent major command for Travis AFB, turning it into a major long-range reconnaissance and intercontinental bombing installation for the 9th Bomb Group/9th Bomb Wing. For the next nine years, airlift operations became secondary while Travis served as home for SAC bombers such as the B-29 Superfortress, B-36 Peacemaker, and eventually, the B-52 Stratofortress. During this period, new hangers appeared, runways were added and widened, and permanent barracks and family living quarters were built.
The base was renamed Travis Air Force Base in 1951 for Brigadier General Robert F. Travis, who was killed when a B-29 Superfortress crashed on August 5, 1950. The ensuing fire caused the 10-12 500Lb general purpose bombs in the bomb bay to detonate about 15 minutes after impact, killing General Travis and 18 others. Although the aircraft was carrying a Mark 4 nuclear weapon, the bomb's plutonium pit was not installed, rendering the nuke harmless.
The Military Air Transport Service (MATS) resumed command of Travis AFB on July 1, 1958, after SAC's new dispersal policy led to the transfer of the 14th Air Division to Beale AFB, California and the 1501st Air Transport Wing (Heavy) became the host unit. On January 1, 1966, MATS was redesignated as the Military Airlift Command (MAC) and on January 6, 1966, the 60th Military Airlift Wing (60 MAW) replaced the 1501st as host unit. Over the next three decades, Travis would become known as the "Gateway to the Pacific" in its role as the principal military airlift hub in the western United States. Initially equipped with legacy C-124 Globemaster and C-133 Cargomaster aircraft from the 1501st, the year 1966 would also see the 60 MAW introduce the Air Force's new all-jet heavy airlifter, the C-141 Starlifter. In 1969, the 349th Military Airlift Wing (349 MAW) of the Air Force Reserve (AFRES) was also established as an "Associate" wing to the 60 MAW, with both units sharing the same aircraft and eventually seamlessly mixing flight crews, maintenance crews and other support personnel. In 1970, the 60 MAW and 349 MAW (Assoc) would also begin concurrently operating the Air Force's largest airlift aircraft, the C-5 Galaxy. In 1991, the 60 MAW was redesignated as the 60th Airlift Wing (60 AW) and the 349 MAW was redesignated as the 349th Airlift Wing (349 AW) the following year.
In 1992, with the reorganization of the Air Force following the end of the Cold War, Military Airlift Command (MAC) was inactivated and Travis came under the control of the newly-established Air Mobility Command (AMC). With the concurrent inactivation of Strategic Air Command (SAC) and the transfer of most of SAC's air refueling aircraft to AMC, the 60 AW gained KC-10 Extender aircraft that had been previously assigned to March AFB, California. With the inclusion of an aerial refueling mission into its long-time strategic airlift mission, the 60 AW and the 349 AW were redesignated as the 60th Air Mobility Wing (60 AMW) and the 349th Air Mobility Wing (349 AMW), the designations they continues to hold today. In 1997, the 349 AMW (Assoc) also became part of the newly-established Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) while remaining operationally "gained" by AMC.
In 1997, the 60 AMW also shed its C-141 aircraft, which were transferred to other Air Force, AFRC and Air National Guard (ANG) wings, while retaining its C-5 and KC-10 aircraft. In 2006, the 60 AMW and 349 AMW (Assoc) again acquired a third aircraft type in their inventory with the arrival of the C-17 Globemaster III.