Team Travis Celebrates 75 Years

  • Published
  • By Nicholas Pilch
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – To celebrate the Air Force, Team Travis came together for an Air Force 75th anniversary gala at the Sunrise Banquet Hall in Vacaville, California.

According to the theme this year, Airmen were called to “Innovate, Accelerate and Thrive” as the U.S. Air Force and Department of the Air Force approach their 75th anniversaries on Sept. 18, 2022. Airmen will always be there to provide America with the airpower it needs to defend the nation, deter or defeat our adversaries, reassure our partners and allies and help diplomacy proceed from a position of strength.

The event was sold out, the hall at max capacity and the sounds of celebration rang out as Airmen, civil service civilians, veterans, local politicians and business professionals all came together to celebrate the accomplishments of not only Travis AFB, but those of the Air Force.

“We are here this evening to celebrate the Air Force’s birthday, and the victory and valor of Travis Air Force Base,” said Master Sgt. Edward Rocha, 60th Civil Engineer Squadron unaccompanied housing superintendent and one of the emcees for the event, to the crowd of more than 600 people.

The evening’s celebration began at 6 p.m. with Airman 1st Class Erica Huseby, Air Mobility Command’s Band of the Golden West rock band—Mobility vocalist, singing the National Anthem followed Col. Steven Richardson, 60th Air Mobility Wing Chapel chaplain, leading grace, inviting all to pray in their faiths.

The other emcee, Master Sgt. Thomas Liteer, 21st Airlift Squadron C-17 Globemaster III instructor loadmaster and readiness superintendent, welcomed everyone on behalf of Team Travis and Col. Derek Salmi, 60th Air Mobility Wing commander.

Before dinner, as a reminder of those who are Prisoners of War and Missing in Action, a remembrance was read to remind us of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

After dinner, Salmi spoke about the history of the Air Force and how Team Travis is a part of that history today. He thanked the surrounding communities for their steadfast support and being great hosts of Travis AFB. He reminded everyone of the reason for Travis’ location: the delta breeze.

“We stand in the presence of heroes here tonight, some of more recent chapters in the sky and on the grounds, some as recent as a year ago,” Salmi said in reference to Operation Allies Refuge/ Welcome. “Thank you for being here and a part of our story.”

Salmi was joined by retired Lt. Gen. John Gonge and Airman 1st Class Alysia Jones, 60th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron optometry technician, to cut the cake. It is customary for the host, the most senior or oldest Airman and junior or youngest Airman to cut the cake.

“This is very honoring to be able to cut the cake,” said Jones. “Honestly, I don’t have any words … this is my first gala and being able to be here and be a part of history is very special to me and my family.”

Gonge, 100 years old, retired from active duty in 1977 with over 13 thousand flying hours.

“Seeing Lt. Gen. Gonge and Airman Jones cut the cake together was very incredible,” said Master Sgt. David Moser, 60th Maintenance Group enlisted executive and C-17 crew chief. “Watching 75 years of history being captured in that one moment, it feels amazing to serve in an organization with that much pride in diversity.”

The cake was cut, the Air Force song rang true and the celebration ensued.

The evening carried on with music from a DJ and for Team Travis it was the first time to be together for a gala since 2018.