Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Travis Commander Talks About Base Changes

Travis Commander Talks About Base Changes
By Ines Bebea

Col. Steven J. Arquiette

FAIRFIELD - Travis Air Force Base's profile is rising in the war on terror while at the same time it forges ahead on several local projects, Col. Steven J. Arquiette said Tuesday while addressing business and civic leaders here.

At a Solano Economic Development Corp. luncheon, the commander of the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis said the base hospital could soon treat wounded soldiers. He said the base hospital is one of the few remaining medical units in the country.

"One of the biggest changes is that David Grant Medical Center will soon become the only Air Force military hospital," Arquiette said at a luncheon held at the Courtyard by Marriott in Fairfield. "The proposed closing of the medical facility on the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio raises the level of importance of our facility, as we continue to serve our veterans and wounded soldiers."

Arquiette said that recent reports of the poor care for Iraqi war veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the government's ensuing investigation of military hospitals will heightened David Grant's profile as a military hospital.

The base commander said he recently met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when her military plane landed at Travis. He said her flights may land here in the future and those will be good opportunities to talk about base and national defense issues.

Arquiette said that he will meet today with staff members from Sen. Barbara Boxer's office to discuss base issues.

As far as base news, the colonel announced that the Air Force has reached an agreement to manage housing at Travis and other bases nationwide. The company, he said, will help fill the hundreds of empty houses on the base.

The base is also moving ahead with plans to move the Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum just off base so the public can have greater access to it, he said.

Arquiette also emphasized the importance of the base having a productive relationship with surrounding communities.

"With 70 percent of our personnel living off base, there are tremendous opportunities to be had in Solano County," he said. "With the proactive leadership by elected officials and a great quality of life, we are very much a part of the community."

The colonel said the concern about county issues extends to Highway 12, which has seen several fatal crashes since Jan. 1.

"Highway 12 is one of our biggest carriers of goods that leads directly into the base," he said. "Any issues that affect that roadway will affect us in getting goods and our ability to respond during national disasters."

Reach Ines Bebea at 427-6934 or

Travis at a glance

Total gross payroll $649,374,386
Total value of resource $12,184,720,029
Total annual expenditures $448,980,462
Estimated jobs created 5,585
Total expenditures in region $1,098,354,848
Estimated annual dollar value of jobs created $220,719,200

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