Thursday, March 13, 2008

Travis Commander Back From Mideast

Travis Commander Back From Mideast
By Danny Bernardini
Article Launched: 03/13/2008

Col. Steven Arquiette

Col. Steven Arquiette Fresh off a four-month stint in the Middle East, Travis Air Force Base's commander met with local business leaders Wednesday to let them know about the important role the base is playing in the war on terrorism and to stress the importance of the base's relationship with the local community.

Col. Steven Arquiette's speech, part of a luncheon sponsored by the Solano Economic Development Corporation in Vacaville, wasn't heavy with statistics and figures about the base, but he did mention that in 2006-07 the strategic weapon drops to troops increased 400 percent and all other air drops increased 200 percent.

"We've promised soldiers that they can go 100 or 200 miles in and we will get them supplies," he said. "We're not slowing down."

Many topics surrounding the base, both literally and figuratively, have made headlines recently. While Arquiette didn't address the controversy of revamping C-5 aircraft or replacing them with C-17s, he did say Travis would be receiving a new C-17 in April.

What he did discuss are the wind turbines near the base that are being proposed and the planned Wal-Mart Supercenter in Suisun City. He said, in both instances, that the appropriate agencies are handling the issues and he is confident that any encroachment or radar issues will be avoided.

Some concern had been expressed in the past about the potential for the projects to interfere with Travis operations, those issues have been dealt with, he said.

As for his time overseas, Arquiette said he is happy to be back at Travis.

"To come back from the desert to Solano County, where everything is green, it was great to get back out there," Arquiette said. "My hat is off to you that help us day in and day out. I want to continue to reach out. Once you start the dialogue, it's a powerful thing."

Arquiette was asked about being promoted out of that rank after his term as Wing Commander expires in May. He said his future is still undetermined.

In the meantime, he said, continuing to grow healthy relationships and ongoing communication are key in assisting in the war and must continue if America is to come out victorious.

"If we don't get it right now, we will be fighting when my son is of age," Arquiette said. "It's not over until we win."

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