Chamber breakfast stresses better Travis support

August 08 2019

Daily Republic 8/8/19 By Ian Thompson

FAIRFIELD — Local business leaders were told that the Solano County area can’t afford to be complacent when it comes to ensuring Travis Air Force Base remains a viable military installation.

“Travis is not to be taken for granted,” Sandy Person, of the Travis Community Consortium, said to a gathering Wednesday of Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce members.

She pointed out the Air Force and the Department of Defense are in a state of transition as the military readjusts to emerging threats.

During a recent trip to the East Coast, Person passed on that Robert McMahon, DoD assistant secretary of sustainment, said “that communities need to understand that installations are not a right, but a privilege.”

What is needed locally, Person said, was active engagement by local and state governments, and businesses to help bases with issues of concern, from improving infrastructure to military spouse employment support.

The message was brought across early Wednesday at the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce’s Opportunities in Motion breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn.

“We are starting to talk in a united way,” Person said. “But if we don’t build on this coalition, we won’t have a profound impact.”

Person said more communities and groups, and not just ones in Solano County, have to partner with the base to help with issues such as improving infrastructure, schools, veterans services and transportation links.

Col. Zachery Jiron, 60th Air Mobility Wing vice commander, also spoke at the breakfast, talking about the 25-year goal plan for the base called Travis 100, which also calls for collaboration with surrounding communities “to keep us strong.”

Overall, the plan sets a baseline development outline that would help future base commanders.

Those goals Jiron talked about include:

• Developing on the base’s northeast area a joint-use heritage center/community outreach complex, village-like airmen dormitories and multifamily living quarters, and a connection between the base’s pedestrian gate to the Fairfield/Vacaville train station.
• Base community goals such as working with Travis School District to renovate, expand or relocate Travis Elementary School, provide alternate transportation for base personnel and working with private housing contractors to meet the needs of airmen.
• Installation goals such as construct an expeditionary bed-down location to allow Travis to better support military contingency and civil emergency organizations, develop plans for long-term energy resiliency and optimize and possibly move base entrances.
• Airfield goals that include constructing a parallel taxiway to increase base capabilities and build a new munition storage and holding facility.

Most of all, Jiron said, build “a symbiotic relationship with the community,” allowing a partnership “to keep Travis strong.”