Solano Voices: Another historic moment for Travis, communityJanuary 14 2019
By Len Augustine
Ground was broken Dec. 14 at Travis Air Force Base for what will eventually become a new 174,000-square-foot, three-bay maintenance hangar for the new KC-46A Pegasus.
The event marked a landmark moment for the base as the future home for the next generation of air-refueling aircraft, continuing a legacy of 75 years of Travis as an essential component of the military’s ability to provide global air mobility.
For nearly 60 years, Travis has been home to an air-refueling mission, providing the aircraft and airmen necessary to maintain the nation’s global reach. The Travis Community Consortium is honored to support Travis, Air Mobility Command and the Air Force as the community partner and key ally in our common effort to build a new home for the KC-46.
As home to the 60th and 349th Air Mobility Wings, Travis has maintained a superior refueling mission capability for decades. The aging KC-10 Extender, currently flown by the two wings and the current workhorse of the air tanker fleet, is planned to be phased out by the Air Force in coming years and replaced with the new KC-46.
The announcement in January 2017 of the selection of Travis as one of two locations for Major Operating Base-4 (MOB-4), or the homes for the second active-duty wings of KC-46s, was a tremendous victory for Travis and our community. The Travis Community Consortium had been a persistent, strong voice in support of Travis to receive MOB-4 and additional missions, having spearheaded the advocacy effort at local, state and federal levels during the selection process. We continue to vigorously champion the bed-down of the incoming KC-46s as the base and community partner to ensure a smooth transition from the KC-10 to the new KC-46.
The strength of the Travis-community partnership was exemplified in our efforts to secure the KC-46 and ensure the base’s long-term value to our national defense by engaging in innovative initiatives to support new missions for Travis. This included a Travis Community Consortium-led effort to establish a Memorandum of Understanding between our cities and Travis that established a Leadership Council to develop and oversee the implementation of collaborative projects that support Travis in fulfilling its missions.
Travis and the community have also been leaders in the Air Force Community Partnership Program, an Air Force-led initiative through which installation and community leaders develop creative ways to leverage their capabilities and resources to achieve reduced costs by finding shared value. It is this kind of teamwork that exemplifies the symbiotic relationship between base and community and the mutual recognition of our single, common goal to support Travis.
As we celebrate this watershed moment for Travis Air Force Base, we look forward with optimism that Travis will continue to be the “Gateway to the Pacific,” and beyond, for many years to come. The Travis Community Consortium will continue to proudly serve and advocate on behalf of Travis and its airmen as we eagerly prepare for the arrival of the first of our KC-46s in 2023.
Len Augustine is the former mayor of Vacaville and chairman of the Travis Community Consortium.