Visit to Travis AFB Heritage Center
Formerly Travis Air Museum and also the Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum
Photos were taken with permission, at the Travis AFB Heritage Center, by WW2HQ staff.
Travis AFB Heritage Center is located at Travis Air Force Base and a valid photo ID is necessary to get on base. Upon entering the base were were directed to sign up for a tram which would take us to the museum, as civilians were not permitted to drive beyond this point without an escort. Although the museum covers a broad time period, the photos I have included are mainly of exhibits relating to World War II to keep within the scope of the website.
Fairfield Army Air Field (later Travis AFB)
The base was originally named Fairfield Army Air Field and was activated for the Air Transport Command, which was an army air force program responsible for ferrying materials, and people wherever needed by the military. The first Air Transport Command personnel arrived at the base on May 29, 1943.
Fairfield Army Air Field was located close to San Francisco and many of its planes flew to Hawaii on their way to the Pacific Theater, beginning with B-24s on July 8, 1943. The base grew rapidly and was typical of large military bases of the time. It had an athletic league, theaters, a bowling alley, and library.
The Service Club was the Army parlor for GI's and WAC's and had a floor for dancing. Enlisted men dating WAC's could call at the WAC Squadron day room. Serving in a liaison capacity between the day room and the enlisted women's barracks was a WAC runner on duty during the evening hours. Monday through Friday, a midnight bed check was enforced in the WAC Squadron. Curfew on Saturday night was 0130 and on Sunday night 0100. Escorts were expected to return their dates to the WAC area at least 15 minutes before bed check.1
Many U.S. bases were shut down after World War II, followed by more shut downs after the end of the Cold War in the 1990s. However, this base is still active, and I believe it currently handles more cargo than any other military air base in the United States.
In 1951 the base was renamed Travis Air Force Base after Brigadier General Travis, who died in the crash of a B-29 transporting a nuclear weapon.
1From display at the Travis Heritage Center.
2The name Miss America '62 was given by the original crew of the B-29 shown in the above photos. According to museum information the crew felt that 1962 was the earliest their daughters could enter the Miss America Pageant. I unable to find a connection between this and the pirate in the nose art.