Travis Air Force Based USAF’S Transport Superbase in action
First, thanks very much to Casemate Publishing for providing IPMS USA a copy of this well formatted and image-rich minigraph. We appreciate the opportunity to review this book!
Travis AFB almost 30 years ago, (’93-‘]96) was one of my frequent TDY locations while overseeing the KC-10 fleet as the KC-10 Maintenance Chief for Air Mobility Command. Lots of great memories in working that place, and the people are still doing a fantastic job as the West Coast hub for Air Mobility Command.
From the book narrative:
“Travis Air Force Base, situated in Fairfield, California, is the “Gateway to the Pacific,” handling more cargo and passengers than any other American military air terminal, and is the transportation hub for the West Coast. Flying the KC-10 Extender, C-17 Globemaster III, and the C-5 Galaxy, Travis can handle any airlift mission for the United States Air Force, and its airmen have distinguished themselves in military operations at home and around the world, including the recent humanitarian evacuation from Kabul. The logistical capabilities at Travis help maintain America’s military might by supplying people and parts to the right places at the right time”.
With over 150 images, most of which have never been published before, this book documents the aircraft, technology, airmen, and behind-the-scenes operations at Travis.
Within this book are 5 chapters covering History, Current Organization, Operations, Aircraft, Evacuation of Kabul, and Air Refueling.
This format lends itself to an image rich presentation, including the KC-10, C-17, C-5, and ground equipment and airfield operations. The images were obviously taken for the most part in the spring, where the hills are green, and the rain is plentiful. Most of my visits to Travis AFB in Fairfield/Vacaville California were when everything was evenly brown, hot, and dry. The valley, as it is known, is fed with mountain runoff to feed the numerous farmlands located between Lake Tahoe and San Francisco. The valley used to have a large military presence, with Sacramento ALC (Mather AFB and McClellan/Sacramento ALC and AFB), and Castle AFB (B-52 first base and later B-52 training) all shuttered with the “Peace dividend”. The valley now is home to Travis AFB, and Beale (former home of the SR-71, now the only base supporting the U-2).
This book focuses on aircraft images, and my hat’s off to the camera operators who captured these behemoth aircraft with sufficient clarity and detail to read the lettering. Not easy with the C-5 in particular.
Each chapter focuses on a different aspect, and the people involved are heavily illustrated and memorialized within the book. Fuels, cryogenics, air base defense, personal equipment, and all the small but vital parts that make a functional USAF base a reality. The huge amount of support it takes to get even one of these aircraft airborne is frequently overlooked, and the authors captured many facets not normally illustrated in our quest for an accurate model. (Who will be first to donate a warehouse to build a 1/72 diorama of the flightline at Travis?)
In reiteration: To the two writers of the book, Scott and Nick Tran, a personal THANK YOU for taking great effort to get out with the people of Travis and record this snapshot in time. Anyone who has tried to obtain all the clearances and support for an effort such as this one knows it was a monumental effort, and your book is well worth adding to many libraries on modern USAF transport aircraft. Thanks also to Casemate Publishers and IPMS USA leadership for providing it for me to review!