Travis 75th: Let’s celebrate 75th Anniversary of TravisMay 21 2018
By Len Augustine
As our community celebrates the 75th anniversary of Travis Air Force Base this year, it is an opportune time to reflect on the nearly eight decades of the base being a central pillar of our community. All of the military members and civilian employees, their families and the many military retirees, past and present, are cherished members of our community.
Travis, long known as the “Gateway to the Pacific,” has a long and storied history. The base is also often referred to as “America’s First Choice” for global mobility because of the missions stationed at the base.
The great and proud story of Travis Air Force Base stretches from its construction during World War II, through conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, to current operations in support of military and humanitarian missions at home and around the world, and into the future with the bed-down of the next-generation Air Force tanker, the KC-46 Pegasus. The base handles more cargo and passenger traffic than any other military installation in the United States, is home to Air Mobility Command’s pre-eminent weapons systems, and consists of the Air Force’s largest medical facility on the West Coast, David Grant Medical Center, which serves more than 750,000 military personnel and their families every year.
Also, with 13,400 employees, Travis Air Force Base is the largest employer in the region, creating an annual economic impact of $1.69 billion in Solano County.
Travis enjoys significant community support from local governments, school districts, business groups and local citizens. The Travis Community Consortium was formed in 2003 to bolster public awareness of the base’s strategic military value. The Travis Community Consortium is comprised of Solano County, its seven cities, the Solano Economic Development Corporation, the Travis Regional Armed Forces Committee and others.
Travis Community Consortium’s efforts remain steadfast to fortify the long-term viability of Travis, preserve existing missions, prepare for new missions and bring attention to the criticality of its worldwide military and humanitarian operations. We are proud to share that several of our 2017 efforts have been successful – highlighted with the announcement of the bed-down of at least 24 of the Air Force’s KC-46 Pegasus refuelers. With the addition of the KC-46, Travis will be the home to the C-5M, the C-17 and the KC-46 – this is a unique capability that no other base in the command can claim.
Additionally, the Travis Community Consortium is a staunch advocate for Air Force Community Partnership program, which highlights the critical importance of local government being a collaborative partner with military installations and reinvesting resources around bases to help enhance military value and create greater cost efficiencies.
Despite our accomplishments, there is more to do. While the Travis Community Consortium was pleased that Congress recently adopted a comprehensive budget with increased funding for the military, it is critical that enhanced funding be sustained for many years to come to not only support new missions but to also invest in aging infrastructure. Although the appetite for another round of Base Realignment and Closure activities is uncertain, the military strives to operate more efficiently and it is critical that we challenge ourselves to identify and implement partnerships that support base operations.
Finally, we will not only continue to participate in the Governor’s Military Council, which brings California military support organizations (i.e., Travis Community Consortium) together but also encourage the state to direct more and much-needed resources to support statewide military installations.
The Travis Community Consortium is up for the challenges on the horizon and will continue to work diligently with military and civilian partners to ensure that Travis Air Force Base remains a premiere installation within the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command for the next 75 years and beyond.
Len Augustine is the mayor of Vacaville and is chairman of the Travis Community Consortium.