Travis Air Force Base Heritage Center

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Travis Air Force Base Heritage Center
Established 1986
Location Travis Air Force Base, in Fairfield, California
Coordinates 38°16′11″N 121°55′53″W / 38.269842°N 121.931516°W / 38.269842; -121.931516
Type Aviation Museum
Visitors 20,000+ yearly
Curator MSgt Aaron Wallenburg (Interim)
Website travisheritagecenter.org

The Travis Air Force Base Heritage Center, founded as the Travis Air Museum and later known as the Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum, is an aviation museum located at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California. The museum houses 35+ aircraft displays and various other informative artifacts.

All visitors over age 18 must present a photo ID and be subject to a criminal background check in order to visit.

History[edit]

In 1982, at the request of Col Tony Burshnick, Commander, 60th Military Airlift Wing, Travis Air Force Base and a group of aviation enthusiasts, most of whom are retired Air Force members, established the Travis Air Force Base Historical Society, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, for the purpose of creating an air museum on base. The following year, the Travis Air Museum was established with the approval of the Secretary of the Air Force and Public Affairs, albeit with no facility. The mission of the Museum was to help preserve the heritage of the Air Force, the history of Travis Air Force Base and airlift in the Pacific. The Society then began a vigorous campaign to obtain aircraft and other artifacts for the museum. When the old commissary on base was vacated in 1986, Col John Tait, Commander, 60th Military Airlift Wing, Travis Air Force Base, made it available to house the accumulated artifacts. Within a year, Travis Air Force Base museum officially became the Travis Air Museum. The collection began to grow.[1]

In 1989, the Museum’s future namesake, California’s aviation pioneer and Medal of Honor recipient, General Jimmy Doolittle sent the base a signed photo congratulating it on the decision to house an air museum.

In the spring of 2001, with the blessing of the Jimmy Doolittle family and Lieutenant General Ronald C. Marcotte, Vice Commander, Air Mobility Command, the Foundation’s request to rename the new Travis Air Force Base Museum in honor of the late General (Ret) James H. Doolittle was approved.

In the spring of 2003, the highly successful 61st Doolittle Raider Reunion was hosted by the Travis Air Force Base Museum, the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Foundation and local communities.

Exhibits[edit]

C-124C
C-124C Globemaster II display in the outdoor air park. This aircraft model was stationed at Travis Air Force Base from 1953-1967.
C-45H
A C-45 Expeditor parked right outside the museum entrance
F-105
F-105D Thunderchief exhibit opening ceremony with speaker Maj. Gen. James Wahleithner

Outdoor aircraft park[edit]

Aircraft indoors[edit]

Fat Man A-Bomb
Veteran Col. Barrett Broussard browses a Fat Man atomic bomb replica at an exhibit inside the museum
Berlin Airlift Veteran
Veteran Lt. Col. Clinton Hankins browses the Berlin Airlift exhibit inside the museum. Lt. Col. Hawkins was a pilot during the operation.

Indoor exhibits[edit]

Basic trainers[edit]

This area of the museum covers training equipment and aircraft that have been involved with Travis Air Force Base throughout the years. Museum artifacts include a F-100 simulator, T-37 simulator, BT-13 Valiant, and PT-19.[2]

Early years[edit]

This area of the museum is an informational and educational dedication to the Wright Brothers, the founders of modern powered flight.[3]

World War I[edit]

This exhibit highlights the 94th Aero Squadron and its service in France in 1918-1919 during World War I. The exhibit also retains original copies of the Stars and Stripes newspaper from that era.[4]

Inter-war years[edit]

The inter war exhibit is a dedication to peace time flight in America between the World Wars. It covers the 1927 Grand Canyon flights, Billy Mitchell's Bombers, the "Spirit of St. Louis", and a display of an AT-17 Bobcat trainer.[5]

World War II[edit]

This section of the museum houses exhibits on the Flying Tigers, the Doolittle Raid, Women Airforce Service Pilots, a Fat Man atomic bomb, and two aircraft displays, a L-4 Grasshopper and Waco CG-4 glider.[6]

Cold War[edit]

This museum exhibit is extensive, and covers the Berlin Airlift, early Strategic Air Command operations of the base, and miscellaneous information about the accomplishments of Travis airmen during that time.[7]

Korean War[edit]

Travis Air Force Base played a large role in the Korean War. The museum mirrors this with a display of a C-119 Flying Boxcar (outside), display of General Robert F. Travis's B-29 Superfortress crash artifacts, and information on how Travis Air Force Base became the "Gateway to the Pacific".[8]

Vietnam War[edit]

This area of the museum covers operations of the time, such as Operation Homecoming. There is also a dedication to Vietnam nurses.[9]

Modern flight[edit]

The museum highlights the fact that Travis Air Force Base was the home of some significant modern aircraft. There are displays on the C-141 Starlifter, C-5 Galaxy, strategic airlift, and aerial refueling.[10]

Space exploration[edit]

This section of the museum houses dedications to the Mercury space program, the Gemini space program, and a display of a X-15 prototype rocket engine.[11]

Humanitarian missions[edit]

This exhibit contains displays about various humanitarian missions throughout the years, including Operation Babylift, in which South Vietnamese orphans were flown out of Vietnam in 1975.[12]

Misc. collections[edit]

The museum also houses many original pieces of art, various aircraft engines, both radial/reciprocating and turbine, an AGM-28 Hound Dog cruise missile, military uniforms, a military coin collection, and an extensive research library.[13]

Future expansion plans[edit]

During 2000, the museum working group determined that a new Travis Air Force Base museum was not only necessary, but was also in the best interests of both the Air Force and the local community. A new site was identified: some 16 acres near the Travis Air Force Base hospital. The Campaign for the “Aviation Museum of the New Millennium” began and an artist’s conception of the new museum building was created.[1]

Unfortunately, after the September 11, 2001 attacks, security changes on base and other considerations resulted in a search for another base site.

From 2004 to 2009, guidance and advice on the challenges of building a new museum were obtained from many sources, in particular the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., the Strategic Air and Space Museum in Omaha, Nebraska, the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington and the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

In the spring of 2010, Colonel James C. Vechery, Commander, 60th Air Mobility Wing, Travis Air Force Base officially confirmed that a parcel of property on Travis Air Force Base accessible to the general public would be the home of a new Air Force-owned and operated Air Museum.

As of April, 2011, the foundation had raised approximately $1 million of the required $34+ million. Many companies and persons have donated, including Jelly Belly, which is headquartered in Fairfield, California, and an endorsement by actor Tom Hanks.[14] In July, 2011, a new design plan for the proposed expansion was released by the fundraising committee, Wings of Valor Capitol Campaign.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Travis Air Force Base Heritage Center History". Travis Heritage Center. 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Indoor Exhibits - Basic Trainers". Travis Heritage Center. 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Indoor Exhibits - The Early Years". Travis Heritage Center. 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Indoor Exhibits - World War I". Travis Heritage Center. 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Indoor Exhibits - Inter War Years". Travis Heritage Center. 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Indoor Exhibits - World War II". Travis Heritage Center. 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Indoor Exhibits - The Cold War". Travis Heritage Center. 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Indoor Exhibits - The Korean War". Travis Heritage Center. 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Indoor Exhibits - The Vietnam War". Travis Heritage Center. 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Indoor Exhibits - Modern Flight". Travis Heritage Center. 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Indoor Exhibits - Space Exploration". Travis Heritage Center. 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Indoor Exhibits - Humanitarian Missions". Travis Heritage Center. 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Indoor Exhibits - Collections". Travis Heritage Center. 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  14. ^ Thompson, Ian (April 18, 2011). "Doolittle Museum fundraising effort hits first $1 million". Daily Republic. Retrieved August 7, 2011. 
  15. ^ Thompson, Ian (July 26, 2011). "Doolittle Air and Space Museum supporters unveil new design". Daily Republic. Retrieved August 7, 2011. 

External links[edit]