Brigadier General Robert F. Travis was the Commander, 5th Strategic Reconnaissance and 9th Bombardment Wings, Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base, California. As commander, he was responsible for the operations of both wings stationed at Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base.
The general was born on December 26, 1904, in Savannah, Georgia. In 1924, he entered the University of Georgia, but was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy. He graduated June 8, 1928, and was commissioned a second lieutenant, Field Infantry, on June 9, 1928. In September 1928, he entered the Air Corps Primary Flying School, Brooks Field, Texas, and upon completion of the course, enrolled in the Air Corps Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field. He graduated in September 1929 and was sent to the 1st Observation Squadron at Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York as the Engineering Officer. In July 1932 he entered the Air Corps Engineering School at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio and completed the course in July 1933. In August 1933, Travis was ordered to the 59th Service Squadron at Langley Field, Virginia to serve as Supply Engineering and Operations Officer.
From February to May 1934, First Lieutenant Travis served as the Engineering Inspector for the Eastern Zone of the Air Mail Service conducted by the Army at Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, New York, and Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York. Upon completion of this tour of duty, he returned to his duties at Langley Field, Virginia. Travis became the Engineering and Armament Officer of the 49th Bombardment Squadron at Langley, in December 1934. In March of 1935, he was named Flight Commander of the 49th Bombardment Squadron. By October of 1937, Travis was transferred to the staff of the 2nd Bombardment Group at Langley and became the Armament and Intelligence Officer.
In March 1939, Travis went to the 72nd Bombardment Squadron at Hickam Field, Honolulu to serve as Operations Officer and Flight Commander. In July 1939, he became the Commanding Officer of the 72nd Bombardment Squadron. Captain Travis was named Materiel Officer of the 5th Bombardment Group in September 1940.
Travis returned to the United States in May 1941, when he was assigned to the 29th Bombardment Group, MacDill Field, Tampa, Florida to serve as the Commanding Officer of the 43rd Bombardment Squadron. He was subsequently elevated to Group Executive Officer and later to the position of Group Commander of the 29th Bombardment Group. He moved with the 29th Bombardment Group in June 1942, when the unit was re-located to Gown Field, Idaho. In September 1942, Colonel Travis became the Commanding Officer of the 15th Bombardment Wing, Gown Field, Idaho. Travis moved with the 15th Bombardment Wing, when the unit was transferred to the Army Air Base in Sioux City, Iowa in February 1943. In July 1943, Travis became the Commanding General of the First Bomber Command, El Paso, Texas.
Brigadier General Travis was next assigned to the European Theatre of Operations in August 1943 and assumed Command of the 41st Combat Bombardment Wing of the Eighth Air Force in September 1943. During this time, he flew 35 missions over enemy occupied territory, to include the mission to destroy the Foch-Wolfe fighter plant in Oeschersleben. Travis returned to the United States in September 1944 and was named Commanding General of the 17th Bomber Operational Training Wing, Grand Island, Nebraska, which later moved to Sioux City Iowa. In August 1945, Travis was assigned to command the Sioux Falls Army Air Field in South Dakota. Approximately one year later, General Travis entered the National War College. He graduated in June 1947 and in August he became the Chief of Staff of the Seventh Air Force at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. Travis later assumed command of the Seventh Air Division (formally the Seventh Air Force) at Hickam. In September 1948, he was appointed Commanding General of the Pacific Air Command at Hickam Air Force Base. He would hold that position until June of 1949.
On June 17th, 1949, General Travis became the Commanding General of the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base in California. General Travis assumed command of the 5th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing on November 8, 1949, commanding both wings at the base.
On August 5th, 1950, Brigadier General Robert F. Travis was killed in the crash of a B-29, 15 minutes after take off. Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base was officially renamed Travis Air Force Base on October 20th, 1950 in honor of the base's fallen commander.
1928 Bachelor of Engineering, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY. 1947 National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington D.C.
1. 1928 Student, Air Corps Primary Flying School, Brooks Field, Texas. 2. 1929, Student, Air Corps Advanced Flying School, Kelley Field, Texas. 3. September - November 1929, Field Artillery Officer, 1st Observation Squadron, Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York. 4. November 1929 - July 1932, Air Corps Officer, 1st Observation Squadron, Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York. 5. July 1932 - July 1933, Student, Air Corps Engineering School, Wright Field, Ohio. 6. August 1933 - February 1934, Engineering, and Operations Officer, 59th Services Squadron, Supply, Langley Field, Virginia.
7. February - May 1934, Engineering Inspector, Army Eastern Zone of the Air Mail Service, Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, and Mitchell Field, New York. 8. March 1935 - October 1937, 49th Bombardment Squadron, Langley Field Virginia. 9. October 1937 - March 1939, Armament and Intelligence Officer, Second Bombardment Group, Langley Field, Virginia. 10. March 1939 - July 1939, Operations Officer and Flight Commander, 72nd Bombardment Squadron, Hickam Field, Hawaii.
11. July 1939 - September 1940, Commander, 72nd Bombardment Squadron, Hickam Field, Hawaii. 12. September 1940 - May 1941, Materiel Officer, Fifth Bombardment Group, Hickam Field, Hawaii. 13. May 1941 - Unknown, Commander, 43rd Bombardment Squadron, MacDill Field Florida. 14. Unknown - 20 March 1942, Executive Officer, 29th Bombardment Group, MacDill Field, Florida.
15. 20 March 1942 - 28 August 1942, Commander, 29th Bombardment Group, MacDill Field, Florida and Gowen Field, Idaho.
16. 3 Sep 1942 - Jul 1943, Commander, 15th Bombardment Training Wing, Gowen Field, Idaho, Sioux City, Army Air Base, Iowa and then Gowen Field, Idaho.
17. 3 July 1943 - 18 August 1943, Commander, 20th Bomber Command (formally 1st Bomber Command), El Paso, Texas.
18. 16 Sep 1943 - 11 October 1944, Commander, 41st Combat Bombardment Wing (H), Molesworth, England. 19. 7 November 1944 - August 1945, Commander, 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing, Grand Island Army Air Field, Nebraska.
20. August 1945 - November 1945, Commander, Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota. 21. November 1945 - August 1946, Commander, 17th Bombardment Training Wing, Sioux City, Army Air Base, Iowa. 22. August 1946 - June 1947, Student, National War College. 23. 21 August 1947 - 1 July 1949, Chief of Staff, Seventh Air Force, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. 24. 1 May 1948 - 1 September 1948, Commander, Seventh Division, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. 25. 1 September 1948 - 1 June 1949, Commanding General, Pacific Air Command, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. 26. 17 June 1949 - 5 August 1950, Commander, 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing (re-designated 9th Bombardment Wing on 1 Apr 1950), Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base, California. 27. 9 November 1949 - 5 August 1950, Commander, 5th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base, California.
Rating: Command Pilot, Combat Observer, Expert Bombardier, Aerial Gunner and Celestial Navigator
Aircraft flown: B - 17, B - 29
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS:
Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star with two oak leaf clusters
Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Army Commendation Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
American Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star
American Campaign Medal with one bronze service star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three bronze service stars
World War II Victory Medal
French Legion of Honor
French Croix de Guerre with Palm
Distinguished Flying Cross - Great Britain
Croix de Guerre - Belgium
Brigadier General Travis died August 5, 1950, at the age of 46. He was interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant Jun 9, 1928 First Lieutenant (permanent) Jun 1, 1934 Captain (temporary) Apr 20, 1935; (permanent) Jun 9, 1938 Major (temporary) Jan 31, 1941; (permanent) Jun 9, 1945 Lieutenant Colonel (temporary) Jan 5, 1942 Colonel (temporary) Mar 1, 1942; (permanent) Apr 2, 1948 Brigadier General (temporary) May 4, 1943
(Current as of February 2008)