News>Commanders drive final rivets into Travis C-17
Travis’ first C-17 in production sits at the Boeing plant in Long Beach, Calif. Approximately 70 base representatives from the 60th Air Mobility Wing and 349th AMW traveled to the Boeing plant March 17 to participate in the Major Join ceremony that marked a milestone in the production of the C-17 Globemaster III when the primary portions of the aircraft came together. The aircraft will be dedicated to the local community for their ongoing support and receive the name “Spirit of Solano.” (U.S. Air Force photo by David Cushman)
Col. Timothy Zadalis, 60th Air Mobility Wing vice commander [right], watches Brig. Gen. Thomas Gisler Jr., 349th AMW commander, drill a rivet into the first C-17 Globemaster III scheduled to arrive at Travis in the end of July. (U.S. Air Force photo by David Cushman)
by Capt. Vanessa Hillman and 1st Lt. Robin Jackson
60th Air Mobility Wing and 349th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
3/24/2006 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Commanders from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., got the honor of driving the final rivets into the base’s new C-17 Globemaster III jet transport during a ceremony at the Boeing plant in Long Beach, Calif., March 17.
Brig. Gen. Thomas Gisler Jr., 349th Air Mobility Wing commander, and Col. Timothy Zadalis, 60th AMW vice commander, traveled with approximately 70 base representatives to participate in the Major Join ceremony that marked a milestone in the production of the jet when the primary portions of the aircraft came together.
Until that point, the naked skeleton of the plane was only called P-154, marking the number of C-17s Boeing has produced for the U.S. Armed Forces. After the rivets were set in place David Bowman, Boeing’s vice president and C-17 program manager, the jet was renamed.
“From here on out this aircraft will be called Travis 1,” Mr. Bowman said.
Colonel Zadalis countered this by announcing to the crowd that, after production, the aircraft will be dedicated to the local community for their ongoing support by receiving the name “Spirit of Solano.”
“The surrounding communities of Solano have been terrific in their unwavering support of our base here in Northern California,” said Col. Michael Shanahan, C-17 Program Integration office chief. “It seems fitting that we salute that commitment by naming the first C-17A after the community.”
Colonel Zadalis took it from there, thanking the Boeing team for producing such a high-quality aircraft for Travis and raving about the benefits the C-17A will give to the base.
“Travis already has the premier tanker with the KC-10 Extender and the strategic airlift workhorse of the Air Force, the C-5 Galaxy,” he said. “The combination of strategic aircraft and tactical theater airlift capabilities the C-17 brings will truly make Travis the gateway to the Pacific and the premier mobility wing fighting the Global War on Terrorism. We continue to be America’s First Choice now more than ever.”
The 60th and 349th AMWs will be the only units to concurrently operate three weapons systems within the Air Force.
General Gisler continued praise for the Boeing production team thanking, “the southern most members of the Travis Team. I promise we will fly this aircraft with the same spirit in which it was put together. “The C-17’s agility is certainly well known. It has become the transporter of choice around the world, taking the fight to the enemy,” he said.
“This Major Join is literally where the rubber meets the road and we can physically see the transition of a machine becoming a Globemaster III,” said General Gisler. “It is thrilling to be a part of this history making moment.”
The aircraft will increase both the active duty and Reserve wings’ ability to accomplish the Total Force, global-reach mission, which is critical to the GWOT.
“In the big picture we simply can not keep pace with the GWOT without the assistance of our Reserve partners,” said Colonel Shanahan.
“They have in everyway, an equal role to play with the C-17A. In fact, my staff has a full-time Reservist dedicated to ensuring we bed-down this great aircraft properly. My office touches every aspect of the C-17 bed-down and to that end, we could not do it without the inputs of the 349th – they have been great partners,” the colonel said.
Assembly on the first C-17 for the Travis Team began in September at the Boeing Long Beach factory.
Since then, thousands of Boeing technicians, engineers and mechanics have worked to produce the major components for this C-17 military transport plane being assembled for the Travis Team.
Travis expects to receive its first of 13 jets at the end of July.