The United States Military is part of the very fabric of San Antonio. It is interwoven into the city’s culture, economy, industry, way of life and, most importantly, its people. The two are inextricably linked throughout history, with the military helping to shape San Antonio and San Antonio helping to shape the military. An understanding of the military’s history and current presence in the city is pertinent, not only to people in the armed forces, but to anyone who plans to call San Antonio home. After all, the city bears the patriotic nickname of Military City U.S.A.
The military has enjoyed an unbroken history in San Antonio. The military’s future in the city looks strong, as the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) 2005 is well underway. The BRAC involves closing numerous military facilities around the country and relocating much of the personnel and operations to San Antonio. Unprecedented growth is expected by 2011.
The impact the BRAC will have on San Antonio is staggering. Recent estimates indicate the BRAC will generate an additional $8.3 billion in positive economic impact through 2011. This marks a significant increase from the 2006 estimate of $5.6 billion. Not included in this estimate is the expected economic impact following 2011, which is estimated at an additional $2.9 billion annually. The BRAC recommendations will transform all of San Antonio’s major military facilities including Fort Sam Houston (FSH), Lackland Air Force Base (AFB) and Randolph Air Force Base (AFB). In addition, the BRAC recommendations will close San Antonio’s Brook City Base by 2011, making way for a new master-planned research and technology center.
Fort Sam Houston
Fort Sam Houston is located in Northeast San Antonio. Three major roadways provide access to the fort, including Loop 410, Interstate 35 and U.S. 281. Fort Sam Houston is home to the Fifth U.S. Army, U.S. Army South, Fifth Recruiting Brigade, 12th ROTC Brigade, U.S. Navy Regional Recruiting, the San Antonio Military Entrance and Processing Station and the U.S. Naval School of Health Sciences, Bethesda Detachment. Medical facilities at Fort Sam Houston include the BAMC, the Great Plains Regional Medical Command, Headquarters Dental Command, Headquarters Veterinary Command, the Institute for Surgical Research (trauma/burn center), the Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute and the Army Medical Department Non-commissioned Officer Academy.
Fort Sam Houston supports 35 Army, two Air Force, five Navy/Marine, two joint service, seven DoD, five federal, three state and five private organizations. Fort Sam Houston is the fourth-largest employer in San Antonio. The current work force consists of approximately 35,900 military personnel (including active, reserve and National Guard), approximately 8,500 civilians as well as an additional 3,000 contract employees and other workers. Approximately 47,200 Army members reside at Fort Sam Houston. The current number of family members residing on the post is approximately 8,000 and about 113,300 military retirees and family members also live in the area.
There are several resources available to relocating soldiers and their families. Army OneSource provides information on services including family programs, health care, soldier and family housing, child, youth and school services as well as education, career, library, recreation, travel and community programs. Army Housing OneStop provides information about Military Family Housing (MFH), Unaccompanied Personnel Housing (UPH) and community (Off-Post) housing. Army Housing OneStop also provides community and civilian employment information.
Lackland Air Force Base
Lackland Air Force Base encompasses 9,797 acres southwest of San Antonio. It is located off of Highway 90 from the east and 410-West from the north or south. Lackland is home to the 37th Training Wing which provides training to enlisted people entering the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, government agencies and allies. The four primary training functions are basic military, professional, technical and English language proficiency. More than 86,000 students graduate each year and more than seven million airmen have completed training since 1946.
Of the 120 units stationed at Lackland, only 36 are assigned to the 37th Training Wing. The Command’s 433rd Airlift Wing accounts for 22 units. Another 18 units are under the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency and the 67th Network Warfare Wing. An additional 18 Air Combat Command units are also stationed at Lackland. The remaining units are within the 59th Medical Wing, the Texas Air National Guard’s 149th Fighter Wing and other tenant units, agencies and centers.
The population of the Lackland is approximately 46,000, of which 20,300 are military and 7,800 are civilians. Approximately 17,900 are dependants. Among military personnel, approximately 48% live off-base and 52% live on-base. Lockland consists of 2,105 facilities, 1,300 buildings, 431 family housing units, 731 privatized housing units and 1,315 vehicles. In 2008, the base had an estimated economic impact of $1,913,825,043.
Relocation Assistance is a congressionally mandated program that provides DoD personnel and their families with relocation information, education and skills to help manage and adjust to military life. At Lackland, the Airman Family and Readiness Center (AFRC) provides tailored information and relocation assistance to meet each family’s needs. Upon their arrival at Lackland, all newcomers must participate in the Right Start orientation program. All spouses are welcome to attend the orientation.
Randolph Air Force Base
Randolph Air Force Base is located in Universal City, approximately 30 minutes northeast of San Antonio. It is accessible from the IH-35 and I-10 roadways. Randolph is the headquarters of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC), the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC) and the 12th Flying Training Wing (12 FTW). The 12 FTW headquarters is known throughout the Air Force as “The Taj” because of its similarities in appearance to the Taj Mahal. The 12 FTW is also the host wing for Randolph. Additonally, the AFB is home to the Air Force Manpower Agency, Air Force Office of Special Investigations Field Investigations Region 4 and the Air Force Recruiting Service. Randolph is known as “the Showplace of the Air Force” because of its Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture.
The base employs over 5,700 military personnel and 6,500 civilians. Its economic impact region spans a 50-mile radius and nearly $224 million associated with indirect jobs is generated by the base. Furthermore, it accounts for a total annual payroll of nearly $648 million that is spent in the local community.
The Randolph Airman and Family Readiness Flight (A&FRF) services single or married active duty, guard, reservist, retired military members, DoD civilians and their families. The A&FRF is designed to help people acclimate to military life and improve quality of life on Randolph AFB. The Relocation Assistance Program offers assistance before, during and after your move. The A&FRF services include information and referral programs with agencies both on and off-base to help align military members with the appropriate resources. The Family Readiness Programs provide assistance, education and support during mobilization and deployments, evacuations, local/national emergencies and disaster response.
- Fort Sam Houston – Fort Sam Houston Relocation
- Lackland Air Force Base – Lackland Air Force Base Relocation
- Randolph Air Force Base – Randolph Air Force Base Relocation
- San Antonio VA Home Loan Program Info – This program allows Veterans and Soldiers to purchase homes in San Antonio that they may not have been able to purchase and may help them save thousands of dollars during the life of the loan.