Congressman Garamendi Urges Pentagon to Center KC-46A Tanker at Travis Air Force Base in Bipartisan Letter

Aug 9, 2012 Issues: Economy, Military and Veterans

FAIRFIELD, CA – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley, urging the Pentagon to select Travis Air Force Base as the location for the KC-46A Main Operation Base and Formal Training Unit. The bipartisan letter was co-signed by Congress Members Dan Lungren, Doris Matsui, George Miller, and Mike Thompson.

The KC-46A is an integral part of the Air Force's mission, specifically its air refueling mission.
"Placing the KC-46A at Travis would save the Pentagon money and more closely unite related Air Force priorities. Travis Air Force Base, the 'Gateway to the Pacific,' has the proven ability to support multiple missions," Congressman Garamendi said. "Basing the KC-46A mission at Travis makes sense for the Air Force, and would be a great boon for Solano County's economy."
Complete text of the letter is provided immediately below. A PDF of the letter is available here. 
August 1, 2012
The Honorable Michael B. Donley
Secretary of the Air Force
1670 Air Force Pentagon     
Washington DC  20330
Dear Secretary Donley:
     We write to strongly urge you to consider selecting Travis Air Force Base as the location for the KC-46A Main Operating Base and / or Formal Training Unit.  As you know, Travis is considered the "Gateway to the Pacific" and has provided rapid, reliable support to contingency and humanitarian operations around the globe. Travis has been instrumental in supporting the war efforts in the Middle East and Southwest Asia for the past 11 years.  
     We believe that Travis is best suited for the KC-46A for a number of reasons.  First, Travis has a well-established classic association in place which would save the Air Force the cost of establishing a new association.  This association consists of the 60th Air Mobility Wing, the largest Air Mobility Command wing in the Air Force, and the 349th Air Mobility Wing, the largest associate wing in the Air Force Reserve.  Both of these organizations have worked together seamlessly in fulfilling the mission of providing Global Mobility Excellence and answering our nation's call. This total force team continues to play a critical role in our national security through its air refueling, airlift, and aeromedical evacuation missions.  Together their efforts in recent contingency and humanitarian operations have resulted in 244,839 flying hours, 44,733 sorties, 430K tons of cargo, 245K personnel, and 260M Gal Air Refueling for Coalition Aircraft. 
     Second, as noted above, Travis already has a robust air refueling mission and the necessary infrastructure, hydrant fuel system, bulk fuel storage, and fuel distribution system to support the KC-46A.  The base currently has 27 KC-10 Extender aircraft flown by the 6th and 9th Air Refueling Squadrons, and has the amenities needed to support a new mission, including hangers and runway capacity. 
     In addition, Travis has a dynamic and diverse mission set with the proven ability to support multiple missions with varied aircraft.  Travis is the only Air Mobility Command base that has three different mobility aircraft, C-5B Galaxy but converting to the C-5M , C-17 Globemaster III, and the KC-10 Extender refueling aircraft.   These aircraft traverse the globe on a daily basis while Travis handles more cargo and passengers than any other military air terminal in the United States.  Travis also has the largest Air Force Medical Center, the  David Grant Medical Center, which provides primary support to the Craig Joint Theater Hospital in Bagram, Afghanistan and serves as the west coast terminal for Pacific Theater Aeromedical evacuation missions. 
     Further, Travis is strategically positioned to support the Department of Defense's strategic guidance which emphasizes a shift in geographical priorities toward the Asia and the Pacific regions.  Even though Travis is capable of supporting missions anywhere in the world, Wing activity is primarily focused in the Pacific and Indian Ocean area.  Travis was “America's First Choice” during Operation UNIFIED RESPONSE providing hope in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, during Operation TOMODACHI providing disaster relief following a 2011 earthquake and Tsunami, and during Operation PACIFIC PASSAGE assisting in the evacuation of military family members from Japan.
     After carefully reviewing the KC-46A basing criteria, we believe Travis AFB's unmatched capabilities satisfy the stated requirements and urge the Air Force to strongly consider the base for the KC-46A Main Operating Base and / or Formal Training Unit. 
John Garamendi
Member of Congress
Dan Lungren
Member of Congress
Doris Matsui
Member of Congress
George Miller
Member of Congress
Mike Thompson
Member of Congress