Military


Kelly AFB, Texas
2924'N 9835'W

As part of the continued DOD downsizing, the recommendations of the Base Closure and Realignment Commission, realisned and consolidated SA-ALC workloads to other DOD depots. The year 2001 was the deadline that President Clinton specified to close the SA-ALC and to complete all activities associated with the privitization of the center's workload to industry. A part of Kelly, including tenant organizations and the runway operation, was transferred to Lackland AFB.

Kelly Field, the Air Force's oldest, continuously active air field, continues serving both the Air Force flying mission and begins serving the city of San Antonio. Air Force Secretary Whit Peters signed the Record of Decision 14 December 2000 authorizing Kelly Field Annex to continue supporting Air Force flying operations. Kelly AFB became Kelly Annex 31 July 2001, when it realigned under Lackland AFB. The Kelly Field Annex supports flying operations for the Air National Guard's 149th Fighter Wing and the Air Force Reserve's 433rd Airlift Wing.

The Air Force will still use the runway as it always has, and the commercial activities began as soon as all operating procedures were agreed to. Joint runway use allows the Greater Kelly Development Authority to commercialize parts of Kelly AFB, to be called KellyUSA, that are being returned to the city. The businesses that move into KellyUSA will use the runway to support their operations. The runway will remain an Air Force asset, but will also be used for commercial enterprises that reside at KellyUSA.

Kelly AFB has already come a long way from its beginnings as a new flying field in 1916. It has supported the Air Force mission through World War I and in the 1920s. It served as the Advanced Flying School, which became a major supply and repair depot. Kelly Field contributed significantly to supporting the war effort during World War II and played a major role in the Berlin Airlift and also provided around-the-clock maintenance to B-29 bombers for overseas service during the Korean War. Kelly has also supported many contingencies for the Air Force, including Desert Storm and operations in Kosovo.

San Antonio ALC's mission, capabilities and demonstrated performance during peacetime and world conflicts made it the heart of the nation's strategic airlift capability. The C-5 is, and continues to be, the backbone of the strategic airlift mission for the next 15 to 20 years. The C-17, which was managed at SA-ALC, further amplified Kelly's strategic role as the prime large aircraft maintenance center in the nation's global reach-global power responsibilities.

SA-ALC's role was also enhanced by the collocation of the 433rd Airlift Wing (Reserve), the 26th Aerial Support Squadron (Reserve) and the 76th Air Base Wing Munitions Squadron. The 433rd Airlift Wing, equipped with 14 C-5 aircraft, represented approximately 12 percent of the Air Force's C-5 fleet, and is an integral part of the total Air Force airlift capability. It provided the largest C-5 reserve fleet during wartime and national emergencies. The 26th Aerial Support Squadron served as the crux of airlift support during national contingencies of the southwest United States. They provided the manpower and equipment needed to load and unload military and commercial aircraft enroute to and from Kelly AFB.

The 76th Air Base Wing Munitions Squadron managed and supported the Air Force's largest conventional munitions storage operation and is one of only two conventional munitions storage and shipping points in the continental United States with worldwide rapid response capabilities. Kelly AFB supported Desert Shield/Desert Storm by shipping 17 million pounds of munitions, equivalent to 59 C-5 flights.

Kelly Air Force Base was one of four remaining major AF Industrial Centers that comprise a worldwide logistics network in Air Force Material Command. Kelly is home to the San Antonio Air Logistics Center, the Air Force News Agency, Air Intelligence Agency, Defense Commissary Agency-Midwest Region, the 433rd Airlift Wing (U.S. Air Force Reserve) and the 149th Fighter Wing (Texas Air National Guard). The installation is located on the southwest side of San Antonio and covers 3,924 acres.

Kelly AFB traces its beginnings to Nov 21, 1916, when Major Benjamin Foulois selected the site of a new aviation field five miles south of San Antonio. Initially, the site chosen was called the South San Antonio Aviation Camp. In June 1917, it became Camp Kelly, then Kelly Field, in honor of Lt George E.M. Kelly, who crashed while attempting to land a Curtis "pusher" aircraft at Fort Sam Houston May 1, 1911. Lieutenant Kelly was the first American military aviator to die in the crash of a military plane.

Kelly Field originated in November 1916, when the "Father of Military Aviation," Captain Benjamin Foulois, selected the site for the expanding activities of the Aviation Flying Section of the US Army Signal Corps. During World War I, Kelly Field served as a reception and testing center for recruits and as a training center for pilots, mechanics, cooks, and bakers, as well as engineering and supply officers. Most American World War I flyers trained or were processed at Kelly Field. During World War II, Kelly developed into a huge industrial complex that stored and distributed material and modified or repaired aircraft, engines, and related equipment. These adjustments marked the start of a distinct shift in Kelly's mission, which, over the next 40 years, expanded into a worldwide logistics and support capability. Kelly Field was renamed Kelly Air Force Base in 1948 after the Air Force became a separate branch of the Armed Services.

In 1946, the Kelly Logistics Depot was defined as a separate facility called the San Antonio Air Material Area, a title it retained until 1974 when it became the San Antonio Air Logistics Center. Kelly Field became Kelly Air Force Base in 1948 after the Air Force was established as a separate branch of the U.S. armed services. Kelly was a part of the Air Force Material Command.

Throughout the years that followed, the San Antonio Air Material Area (SAAMA) based at Kelly continued to expand its responsibilities. Kelly maintained such aircraft as the B­29, B­36, B­47 and B­58 bombers, numerous types of fighters including the F­102 and F­106, and various cargo planes. The SAAMA evolved into the San Antonio Air Logistics Center, which handled over 50 percent of the Air Force's engine inventory, all Air Force nuclear ordnance, the aerospace fuels used by the Air Force and NASA, and over 240,000 stock items. The key missions performed at SA-ALC include managing and maintaining the airframes and engines of the military's largest cargo aircraft, the C-5; managing and maintaining the F100 engines that power the Air Force's top two tactical fighters, the F­15 and F-16; overhauling the engines of the Air Force's workhorse, the C-130 cargo plane; repairing 52 percent of the DOD small GTE workload including the Army's Patriot missile launcher and secondary power systems for the F-15, F-16, and B-1B aircraft; repairing engine starting systems including air turbine starters and cartridge pneumatic starters. In addition to supporting cargo and fighter missions, SA-ALC was the Center of Excellence for gas turbine engines and secondary power systems and supports assigned DOD GTE requirements with extensive manufacturing and testing capabilities. Beginning in FY94, the workload of engine repair and overhaul of assigned engines, avionics, and other aircraft commodities increased as a result of the Air Force Two Level Maintenance (2LM) concept and new interservicing workload. SA-ALC repaired all the Air Force and Navy T56 engines as well as providing maintenance and repair for numerous Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Defense Logistics Agency assets and electronic equipment.

SA­ALC covers 3,996 acres, with 592 buildings occupying 16.2M SF of floor space. As of the mid-1990s pproximately 20,365 full-time personnel were assigned to Kelly AFB, including 15,367 civilians and 4,998 military. Kelly was the largest employer in San Antonio, with a $666M annual payroll that had an important impact on the local economy.

The 1995 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) determined that the Air Force had significant excess capacity and infrastructure in their depot system, and realignment of the San Antonio ALC and related activities would permit significantly improved utilization of the remaining depots and reduce DoD operating costs. The BRAC voted to realign the San Antonio Air Logistics Center and disestablish the Defense Distribution Depot.

    WORKLOAD                                        TRANSFER LOCATION
    Nuclear Weapons Support                         OO-ALC Utah
    Nuclear Weapons Support                         Kirtland AFB New Mexico
    Nuclear Weapons Support                         OC-ALC Oklahoma
    

As a result of a 1995 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission [BRAC] decision, Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, was realigned and the San Antonio Air Logistics Center, including the Air Force maintenance depot, was closed. The Base Realignment and Closure Commission selected the eastern portion of Kelly AFB for closure of the San Antonio Air Logistics Center (SA-ALC). The western portion was targeted for realignment of the flight line, various tenant organizations, and select properties adjacent to Lackland AFB. Closure of the SA-ALC and realignment of the remaining facilities is currently scheduled to begin in 2001. To mitigate the impact of the closures on thelocal communities and center employees, in 1995 the Clinton administration announced its decision to maintain certain employment levels at these locations. Privatization-in-place was one initiative for retaining these employment goals.

Kelly Air Force Base is located in Bexar County, Texas, approximately 7 miles southwest of downtown San Antonio. The base encompasses 4,660 acres and is bounded on the west by Lackland AFB and to the south by Military Drive and Leon Creek. The northern and eastern boundaries are Growdon Road and the Union-Pacific Railroad Yards, respectively. The surrounding community is mostly residential, commercial, and light industrial with limited agriculture. Although aircraft repair and maintenance was continuous from the time flying began at Kelly in 1917, the base became a major overhaul and logistics center with the move of the Army Air Service Aviation Repair Depot to Kelly from Dallas in 1921. This move created the San Antonio Intermediate Depot, the predecessor of today's San Antonio Air Logistics Center (SA-ALC). The SA-ALC manages an extensive inventory for the USAF, including aircraft engines, weapons systems, support equipment, and aerospace fuels. Since 1954, Kelly AFB has been involved with logistics and maintenance for the SA-ALC. Kelly AFB hosts the 433rd Airlift Wing, which operates the C-5 aircraft, and the 149th Fighter Wing, which operates the F-16 aircraft. In addition, aircraft such as C-5s, T-38s, B-52s, C-130s, B-58s, and F-100s are or have been maintained and repaired at Kelly AFB

The geography around Kelly AFB consists of gently undulating prairie, generally sloping to the southeast toward the Gulf of Mexico. The topography of Kelly AFB is generally flat with elevations ranging from 610 to 730 feet above sea level. Kelly AFB is situated over a shallow aquifer and a deeper, confined aquifer (Edwards aquifer). The shallow aquifer occurs in alluvial sediments that overlie various clays, marl, and rock; and water is present at depths of 3 to 37 feet across the base. The layer of clay under the shallow aquifer is found at depths to 50 feet and is about 450 feet thick. Under the clay layer lie 300 feet of marl and 500 feet of limestone and shale. These layers overlay and confine the deeper Edwards aquifer, which is the main source of drinking water for the San Antonio area. The shallow aquifer is therefore separated from the Edwards aquifer by this very thick, impermeable layer of mostly clay, marl, and rock.

The climate of San Antonio is continental and subtropical and has two main seasons consisting of a dry, mild winter and a hot, humid summer. Northerly winds prevail during most of the winter (October through February), while southeasterly winds from the Gulf of Mexico prevail during the summertime (March through September). Southeasterly winds may also be experienced for long periods during the winter.

Precipitation is well distributed throughout the year, with the heaviest amount historically occurring during May and October. Precipitation between April and September usually occurs as thunderstorms, with heavy rains falling in short periods of time. Most of the winter precipitation occurs as light rain or drizzle.

The neighborhoods surrounding Kelly AFB are predominately Hispanic (89%-94%), compared to 50% for Bexar County and 26% for Texas, with slightly more females (52%-53%) than males. Residents less than 10 years of age comprise 22%-24% of the population, and 6%-8% of the population are 65 years of age and older. The population is slightly younger than that of Bexar County or Texas with the majority of residents being under 30 years of age. Prior to development in the 40s and 50s, the area was mostly agricultural and consisted of cultivated fields. Agriculture is presently limited, and land use is mostly residential, commercial, and light industrial.

North Kelly Gardens is a predominately Mexican-American neighborhood north of Kelly Air Force Base (AFB) and which is located about 200 feet from the base's jet fuel storage tanks. Local citizens formed the Committee for Environmental Justice Action (CEJA) to voice their concerns about the inadequacy of base cleanup plans, health problems caused by contamination coming from the base, and declines in property values. Citizens were concerned about petroleum fumes and shallow groundwater contaminated with solvents and petroleum and such health problems as respiratory illnesses and kidney disease. CEJA conducted two environmental health surveys to document that local residents have been disproportionately effected by environmental factors. The community have asked to be relocated if their property and health can not be restored.



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