Died August 05,1950
Brig. Gen. Robert F. Travis was the Commander, 5th Strategic Reconnaissance and 9th Bombardment Wings, Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base, Calif. As commander, he was responsible for the operations of both wings stationed at the base.
The general was born in 1904, in Savannah, Ga. In 1924, he entered the University of Georgia, but was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy. He graduated and was commissioned a second lieutenant, Field Infantry, in June, 1928. In September 1928, he entered the Air Corps Primary Flying School, Brooks Field, Texas, and upon completion of the course, enrolled in the Air Corps Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field. In September, 1929, he graduated , and was sent to the 1st Observation Squadron at Mitchel Field, N. Y. as the engineering officer. In July 1932 he entered the Air Corps Engineering School at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio and completed the course in July 1933. In August 1933, he was ordered to the 59th Service Squadron at Langley Field, Va. to serve as supply engineering and operations officer.
From February to May 1934, the general served as the engineering inspector for the Eastern Zone of the Air Mail Service conducted by the Army at Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn and Mitchel Field, Long Island in New York. Upon completion of this tour of duty, he returned to his duties at Langley Field, Va. He became the engineering and armament officer of the 49th Bombardment Squadron at Langley, in December 1934. In March of 1935, he was named Flight Commander of the 49th Bombardment Squadron. By October 1937, he was transferred to the staff of the 2nd Bombardment Group at Langley and became the armament and intelligence officer.
In March 1939, he went to the 72nd Bombardment Squadron at Hickam Field, Hawaii, to serve as operations officer and Flight Commander. In July 1939, he became the Commanding Officer of the 72nd Bombardment Squadron. The general was named materiel officer of the 5th Bombardment Group in September 1940.
The general returned to the United States in May 1941, when he was assigned to the 29th Bombardment Group, MacDill Field, Fla., to serve as the Commanding Officer of the 43rd Bombardment Squadron. He was subsequently elevated to Group Executive Officer and later to the position of Group Commander of the 29th Bombardment Group. He moved with the 29th BG in June 1942, when the unit was relocated to Gowen Field, Idaho. In September 1942, he became the Commanding Officer of the 15th Bombardment Wing, Gowen Field. The general moved with the 15th Bombardment Wing, when the unit was transferred to the Army Air Base in Sioux City, Iowa in February 1943. In July 1943, he became the Commanding General of the First Bomber Command, El Paso, Texas.
General Travis was next assigned to the European Theater of Operations in August 1943 and assumed Command of the 41st Combat Bombardment Wing of the Eighth Air Force in September 1943. During this time, he flew 35 missions over enemy occupied territory, to include the mission to destroy the Foch-Wolfe fighter plant in Oeschersleben, Germany. He returned to the United States in September 1944 and was named Commanding General of the 17th Bomber Operational Training Wing, Grand Island, Neb., which later moved to Sioux City. In August 1945, the general was assigned to command the Sioux Falls Army Air Field in South Dakota.
Approximately one year later, General Travis entered National War College. He graduated in June 1947 and in August he became the Chief of Staff of the Seventh Air Force at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. He later assumed command of the Seventh Air Division (formally the Seventh Air Force) at Hickam AFB. In September 1948, he was appointed Commanding General of the Pacific Air Command at Hickam. He would hold that position until June, 1949.
On June 17, 1949, General Travis became the Commanding General of the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Fairfield-Suisun AFB, Calif. General Travis assumed command of the 5th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing on Nov. 8, 1949, commanding both wings at the base.
The general was killed in the crash of a B-29, 15 minutes after takeoff on Aug. 5, 1950. Fairfield-Suisun AFB was officially renamed Travis AFB on Oct. 20, 1950, in his honor.
1928 Bachelor of Engineering, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
1947 National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
1. 1928, student, Air Corps Primary Flying School, Brooks Field, Texas
2. 1929, student, Air Corps Advanced Flying School, Kelly Field, Texas
3. September - November 1929, field artillery officer, 1st Observation Squadron, Mitchel Field, N.Y.
4. November 1929 - July 1932, Air Corps officer, 1st Observation Squadron, Mitchel Field, N. Y.
5. July 1932 - July 1933, student, Air Corps Engineering School, Wright Field, Ohio.
6. August 1933 - February 1934, engineering, and operations officer, 59th Services Squadron, Supply, Langley Field, Va.
7. February - May 1934, engineering Inspector, Army Eastern Zone of the Air Mail Service, Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, and Mitchell Field, N. Y.
8. March 1935 - October 1937, 49th Bombardment Squadron, Langley Field Va.
9. October 1937 - March 1939, armament and Intelligence Officer, Second Bombardment Group, Langley Field, Va.
10. March 1939 - July 1939, operations officer and flight commander, 72nd Bombardment Squadron, Hickam Field, Hawaii
11. July 1939 - September 1940, Commander, 72nd Bombardment Squadron, Hickam Field, Hawaii
12. September 1940 - May 1941, materiel officer, Fifth Bombardment Group, Hickam Field, Hawaii
13. May 1941 - October 1941, Commander, 43rd Bombardment Squadron, MacDill Field, Fla.
14. October 1941 - March 1942, executive officer, 29th Bombardment Group, MacDill Field, Fla.
15. March 1942 - August 1942, Commander, 29th BG, MacDill Field, Fla. and Gowen Field, Idaho
16. September 1942 - July 1943, Commander, 15th Bombardment Training Wing, Gowen Field, Idaho; Sioux City Army Air Base, Iowa and then Gowen Field, Idaho.
17. July 1943 - August 1943, Commander, 20th Bomber Command (formerly 1st Bomber Command), El Paso, Texas.
18. September 1943 - October 1944, Commander, 41st Combat Bombardment Wing (H), Molesworth, England.
19. November 1944 - August 1945, Commander, 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing, Grand Island Army Air Field, Neb.
20. August 1945 - November 1945, Commander, Sioux Falls Army Air Field, S. D.
21. November 1945 - August 1946, Commander, 17th Bombardment Training Wing, Sioux City Army Air Base, Iowa.
22. August 1946 - June 1947, student, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
23. August 1947 - July 1949, Chief of Staff, Seventh Air Force, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii
24. May 1948 - September 1948, Commander, Seventh Division, Hickam AFB, Hawaii
25. September 1948 - June 1949, Commanding General, Pacific Air Command, Hickam AFB, Hawaii
26. June 1949 - August 1950, Commander, 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing; then, Commander, 5th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing and 9th SRW , later designated 9th Bombardment Wing, Fairfield-Suisun AFB, Calif.
Rating: Command Pilot, Combat Observer, Expert Bombardier, Aerial Gunner and Celestial Navigator
Aircraft flown: B-17, B-29
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star with two oak leaf clusters
Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Army Commendation Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
American Defense Service Medal with bronze service star
American Campaign Medal with bronze service star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three bronze service stars
World War II Victory Medal
French Legion of Honor
French Croix de Guerre with Palm
Distinguished Flying Cross - Great Britain
Croix de Guerre - Belgium
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant June 9, 1928
First Lieutenant (permanent) June 1, 1934
Captain (temporary) April 20, 1935; (permanent) June 9, 1938
Major (temporary) Jan. 31, 1941; (permanent) June 9, 1945
Lieutenant Colonel (temporary) Jan. 5, 1942; (permanent) Feb. 1, 1942
Colonel (temporary) March 1, 1942; (permanent) April 2, 1948
Brigadier General (temporary) May 4, 1943
Source: History Office, Travis Air Force Base