TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE — A sword and shield are worthless pieces of metal lying on the ground if they don’t have strong arms to wield them.
That is the way I have always thought about Travis’ airlifters and air refuelers. They are those strong arms that makes America capable of extending its reach as far as it needs to go.
Without the global reach of Travis’ transports, America’s military would never get to where it is needed quickly. Without Travis’ air refueling aircraft, all those fighters and bombers would not have the range they need. And without those airfield contingency units, all those airfields would be unable to move those supplies and troops through to where they are needed.
Or to quote Confederate cavalry leader Nathan Bedford Forrest, victory goes to he who “got there first with the most men.”
Travis has been a centerpiece to this county since it opened in 1943 and it has been a part of every significant American military and humanitarian operation since then.
I’d like to thank those who made this special section possible.
Mark Wilderman, 60th Air Mobility Wing Historian, was an essential source and the fount of knowledge when it came to what Travis and the 60th accomplished in its long history.
Terry Juran, Travis Heritage Center’s director, and his great volunteers threw open the doors of their Heritage Center to me. The living history walking around that place is as great as the recorded history on its walls.
Jim Spellman, once David Grant’s public affairs officer, gave me access to that hospital’s history.
Gary Leiser’s updated and revised history of Travis, from its origins in 1943 through 1996, was an essential source to this publication and to him I am indebted, as well as Travis Historian Chet Snow, who wrote the first edition a decade before.
The biggest thank you goes to all the Travis service members and civilians I have had the honor to interview during the past three decades, running the gamut from Mary Enos, otherwise known as Mother Travis, to retired airlifter Morrie Wasserman.
Some of their words are enclosed in this special section. Enjoy.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.