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Travis Air Force Base

Air Mobility Command.png
Air Mobility Command

Travis AFB California 1993.jpeg
17 June 1993
Airport type Military: Air Force Base
Owner United States Air Force
Operator Air Mobility Command
Location Fairfield, California
Built 1942
Occupants 60th Air Mobility Wing
Elevation AMSL 62 ft / 19 m
Coordinates 38°15′46″N 121°55′39″W / 38.26278°N 121.9275°W / 38.26278; -121.9275Coordinates: 38°15′46″N 121°55′39″W / 38.26278°N 121.9275°W / 38.26278; -121.9275
Direction Length Surface
ft m
3L/21R 11,001 3,353 PEM
3R/21L 10,992 3,350 Concrete
Sources: official web site[1] and FAA[2]
Travis AFB is located in California
Travis AFB
Location of Travis AFB, California
FAA Airport Diagram

Travis Air Force Base (IATA: SUUICAO: KSUUFAA 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.[2] 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:

  • 60th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Provides combat-ready maintenance personnel and organizational support to inspect, service, and repair 26 assigned C-5 aircraft, and maintenance support for Transient Alert. Generates 24-hour-a-day strategic airlift to support four flying squadrons and ensures readiness of personnel and equipment for deployment. Maintains mission ready aircraft capable of worldwide strategic airlift supporting AMC's global mission.
  • 660th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Provides combat-ready maintenance personnel and organizational support to inspect, service, and repair all transient and 27 assigned KC-10A aircraft, 46% of DOD's inventory. Generates aerial refueling and strategic airlift to support flying activities of four aerial refueling squadrons. Ensures readiness of personnel and equipment for deployment. Maintains mission capable aircraft supporting AMC's global mission.
  • 60th Equipment Maintenance Squadron
Provides organizational and field-level aircraft maintenance, repair, and manufacture capability for effective on- and off-equipment maintenance, inspection and refurbishment of 26 C-5 and 27 KC-10 aircraft. Inspects, services, and overhauls aerospace ground equipment worth over $8 million. Manages and stores all base munitions. Provides mission capable aircraft in direct support of AMC’s global mission.
  • 60th Component Maintenance Squadron
Inspects, services, and overhauls aircraft fuel systems for 26 C-5, 13 C-17 and 27 KC-10 aircraft. Maintains avionic, hydraulic, electrical and environmental system components for C-5 and C-17 aircraft. Operates the west coast TF39 Engine Regional Repair Center. Calibrates and repairs over 8,800 items in a regional Test, Measurement, and Diagnostic Equipment Laboratory. Directly supports AMC’s global reach mission for AMC’s largest wing.
  • The 60EMS and 60CMS have combined to become the 60th Maintenance Squadron
  • 60th Maintenance Operations Squadron
Provides critical support for the maintenance, modification and scheduling of 26 C-5 and 27 KC-10 aircraft valued at $9B. Controls maintenance actions and manages all aircraft and mission statistics. Manages $340M in real property and provides group-level mobility support for AMC's largest wing. Develops and executes aircraft/ancillary training and provides aircraft maintenance training support for the Pacific Rim.
  • 860th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Provides combat-ready maintenance personnel and organizational support to inspect, service, and repair 13 assigned C-17A aircraft, and maintenance support for Transient Alert. Generates 24-hour-a-day strategic airlift to support two flying squadrons and ensures readiness of personnel and equipment for deployment. Maintains mission ready aircraft capable of worldwide strategic airlift supporting AMC's global mission.

Other Units


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.[3]

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.[3]

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.[3][4]


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 World War II glider, World War II aircraft recognition models, a Link Trainer, aircraft engines, and the cockpits of a T-28, a T-37, and an F-100.


Brigadier General Robert F. Travis
C-141A Starlifter assigned to the 60th Military Airlift Wing, Travis AFB in the early 1970s flying over the Pacific Ocean
C-5 Galaxy assigned to the 349th Air Mobility Wing
KC-10A Extender operations at Travis AFB
C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 60th AMW
Emblem of the MATS 1501st Air Transport Wing

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.[5]

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.[6]

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.

Major Commands to which assigned

Redesignated: Military Airlift Command, January 1, 1966

Major Units assigned

  • 427th Sub Depot, May 19, 1943 – August 1, 1944
  • 23d Ferrying Group (West Coast Wing), June 1 – October 18, 1943
Redesignated: Station # 10, West Coast Sector, Air Transport Command Pacific Wing, October 18, 1943 – August 1, 1944
Redesignated: 1504th AAF (later AF) Base Unit, August 1, 1944 – June 1, 1948
  • 100th Base and Air Base Squadron, May 31 – October 31, 1943
  • Aerial Port of Embarkation, December 8, 1943 – September 30, 1977
  • 308th Reconnaissance Group, July 1, 1947 – November 9, 1949
  • 530th Air Transport Wing, June 1, 1948 – 1 October 1948
Redesignated: 1501st Air Transport Wing, 1 October 1948 – January 8, 1966
  • 325th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, April 20, 1953 – February 10, 1954
  • 413th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, July 8, 1954 – July 18, 1955
  • 82d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, August 18, 1955 – June 25, 1966
  • 323d Air Division (Troop Carrier), July 1, 1958 – May 8, 1960
  • HQ, Western Transport Air Force
Redesignated: Twenty-Second Air Force, June 25, 1958 – July 1, 1993
Redesignated: 15th Expeditionary Mobility Task Force, October 1, 2003 – Present
  • 615th Contingency Response Wing, May 1, 2005 – Present

Reference for major commands assigned and major units assigned[7][8][9]

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.
 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "Travis Air Force Base".

  1. ^ Travis Air Force Base, official web site
  2. ^ a b FAA Airport Master Record for SUU (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2007-12-20
  3. ^ a b c Fairfield Economic Development: Travis AFB
  4. ^ David Grant USAF Medical Center
  5. ^ Travis AFB, California - SAC - Wing ? - B-29, B-36, B-52 - check web site
  6. ^ B29 Crash at Travis AFB
  7. ^ Mueller, Robert (1989). Volume 1: Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. USAF Reference Series, Office of Air Force History, United States Air Force, Washington, D.C. ISBN 0912799536; 0160022614
  8. ^ USAFHRA Document 01055672
  9. ^ USAFHRA Document 01058940
  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office 1961 (republished 1983, Office of Air Force History, ISBN 0-912799-02-1).
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History 1984. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
  • Mueller, Robert, Air Force Bases Volume I, Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982, Office of Air Force History, 1989

External links


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