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Travis Air Force Base Fact Sheets

This database holds fact sheets on Travis Air Force Base weapons, organizations, inventory, careers and equipment. Air Force fact sheets contain up to date information and statistics. If a fact sheet is not listed, please contact the 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs office at 60amwpa@us.af.mil

Fact Sheets Graphic

Travis Air Force Base Fact Sheets

This database holds fact sheets on Travis Air Force Base weapons, organizations, inventory, careers and equipment. Air Force fact sheets contain up to date information and statistics. If a fact sheet is not listed, please contact the 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs office at 60amwpa@us.af.mil

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60th Aerial Port Squadron

On Nov. 7, 1944, the War Department officially designated Fairfield-Suisun Army Air Base (FF-SS AAB) as an aerial port of embarkation (APOE) for the Pacific theater. Prior to that time, planes stationed here (C-54s) launched out of FF-SS AAB empty and landed at Hamilton AB (just north of San Francisco) for reloading and refueling. With the establishment of FF-SS AAB as an APOE, the Air Transport Command (ATC) directed that cargo loading operations for Pacific-bound flights be transferred from Hamilton to Fairfield-Suisun. This allowed the C-54s to be repaired, refueled, and reloaded in one stop. Passenger and medical air evacuation flights still stopped at Hamilton until the war's end.

By early 1945, Fairfield-Suisun AAB became ATC's largest Air Freight Terminal on the west coast, handling 75 percent of all ATC cargo and mail destined for the South Pacific Theater. In February 1945, 323 tons of cargo and 342 tons of mail were processed and loaded. The terminal's primary duty became the processing of returning warplanes. By the end of the war, 1,295 planes (mostly B-24s and B-29s) had been processed.

On May 21, 1946, Fairfield-Suisun replaced Hamilton as ATC's main west coast APOE for Pacific passenger flights. This resulted in a monthly average, from November 1946 to June 1948, of 3,500 passengers and 215 tons of cargo and mail loaded on C-47 and C-54 aircraft. A record high of 4,000 passengers was established in July of 1948.

In 1949, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) took over control of the base, and the transportation mission dropped to a single shuttle per week to Hickam. During the Korean conflict (1951-1954), cargo and passenger movement was stepped up and a new freight terminal was built. However, for most of 1949 to 1959, airlift still played a secondary role to SAC's reconnaissance and bomb missions.

In late 1953, the 1501st Air Terminal Squadron (1501st ATS), predecessor to the 60th Aerial Port Squadron, was formed and assigned to the 1501st Air Transport Group (1501st ATG) as a tenant to the host SAC wing. In July 1955, the 1501st ATG was raised to the level of a wing and designated the 1501st Air Transport Wing (heavy). From 1955-1966, Travis AFB resumed handling of the major operational airlift for the Military Air Transport Service's Pacific Division, flying C-124, C-97, and C-133 aircraft. The 1501st ATS loaded and secured the Atlas, Thor, Titan, and Minuteman missiles for airlift.

In 1961, the Air Force decided to give Travis AFB an airdrop mission. In order to reflect this mission, the 1501st ATS was redesignated the 1501st Aerial Port Squadron on July 1, 1964. In 1962, the Air Force's first 463L materials handling system was installed in the Travis Air Freight Terminal. This was the first mechanized cargo loading system in a Military Air Transportation Squadron (MATS).

On Jan. 1, 1966, MATS became the Military Airlift Command (MAC) and, 7 days later, all MAC subordinate units were redesignated. The wing became the 60th Military Airlift Wing and the aerial port became the 60th Aerial Port Squadron (60th APS).

From 1966 to 1979, the 60th APS processed more than 5.5 million passengers (over 1.1 million annually) and 1.1 million tons of cargo. During this time, the 60th APS moved more cargo and passengers than any other MAC organization.
After three years of construction, in September 1974, Building 977 (Travis' new $3 million Air Freight Terminal) was opened. In November 1976, the road from Highway 12 to Ragsdale Road (through the south gate) was widened and improved to facilitate the many trucks coming onto the base and heading for the Air Freight Terminal. In July 1980, the 60th APS commander was given the additional responsibility of deputy commander for Air Transportation.

In October 1980, operating locations (OLs) were opened in San Francisco International Airport (IAP) and Oakland IAP, thus bringing to an end commercial passenger flights landing at Travis. In July 1984, the OL at St. Louis IAP Mo., formerly assigned to Scott AFB, came under the administrative and operational control of the 60th APS. The San Francisco OL closed in August 1988 and the Oakland OL closed in September 1990. The detachment at Los Angeles IAP came under the control of 60th APS in October 1991. The St. Louis OL operation went back under the control of Scott AFB on Oct. 1, 1992. On Oct. 1, 2005, AMC formally deactivated the Los Angeles IAP military commercial gateway. This closing, the last of the military commercial gateways on the continental U.S. west coast, ended an almost 20 year mission by the 60th APS to support passenger movement in, out, and through commercial airport hubs to the Pacific.

A close relationship with the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, Calif., was initiated in 1985 as the Army developed the light infantry concept. That concept was validated in August 1986, following the successful processing of 155 tactical and strategic aircraft loads through the Travis port for airlift to a field exercise. Although that unit no longer exists, the 60th Aerial Port Squadron is still a primary provider of Joint Airborne/Air Transportability Training for other Department of Defense service branches.

Commencement of inspections for the US-USSR Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty missions provided additional opportunities for the aerial port to excel. Soviet passenger and cargo aircraft, including the Soviet AN-124, are now routinely handled.

The mission has expanded for the wing and the 60th APS continues to provide aircraft support and escorts for the On-Site Inspection Agency and Base Treaty Compliance Office which now overseas the Open Skies Treaty, Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

The 60th APS being the largest aerial port in the world, and the west coast Aerial Port of Embarkation, has become a test bed or pilot base for many new missions. In 1994 the Air Mobility Command established a new high-priority mission called Pacific Express (PACEX). This daily mission using, at one time or another, every major weapon system in AMC, i.e., C-141, C-5, KC-10, KC-135, and C-17, has set new standards for rapid cargo movement. The flights provide daily service to Yokota or Osan or both, depending on the cargo awaiting airlift.

In December 1995 the 60th APS deployed 33 transporters to Rhein-Main, Germany, and one to Tazar, Hungary, for participation in the UN peacekeeping effort in war-torn Bosnia. As a part of IMPLEMENTATION FORCE, they contributed to the rapid airlift of 5,400 NATO peacekeepers, helping maintain a fragile peace following the signed peace agreement between the three warring factions of the former country of Yugoslavia.

The men and women of the 60th Aerial Port Squadron have a long and proud history at Travis. They take pride in meeting each mission with dedication and professionalism. Assign a project, step back, and expect outstanding results from our folks. Our strength lies in their total commitment to accomplishing the United States Air Force mission.