Randolph AFB, Texas
Randolph Air Force Base (located at FM 78 and Loop 1604) occupies the far northeastern section of the Corridor in Universal City. It is the home of more than 10,000 military and civilian employees who make their home in the surrounding communities collectively known as the Randolph Metrocom. The base employs over 5700 military personnel and 6500 civilians. Randolph is headquarters of the U.S. Air Force Air Education and Training Command, the 19th Air Force, the 12th Flying Wing, the Air Force Personnel Center, the Air Force Recruiting Service Headquarters and the Air Force Center for Quality and Management Innovation. A number of buildings located on the base including the Taj Mahal are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its economic impact region covers a 50-mile commuting radius, and has a yearly payroll of more than $350 million. Randolph is believed to have created more than 7,500 jobs for local communities.
Randolph Air Force Base was dedicated June 20, 1930, as a flying training base and continues in that mission today. The idea for Randolph began soon after the establishment of the Air Corps Act in 1926, which changed the name of the Army Air Service to the Army Air Corps, created two new brigadier general positions and provided a five-year expansion program for the under-strength Air Corps. One of the new general officer positions was given to Frank P. Lahm, who was placed in charge of all flying training.
General Lahm established the Air Corps Training Center and set up its headquarters at Duncan Field, next to Kelly Field, Texas. He soon learned the facilities at Kelly and Brooks Fields were not sufficient for proper training. The buildings, erected during World War I with a life expectancy of five years, had no suitable areas for ground training and the living quarters were inadequate. San Antonio's rapid growth was also beginning to interfere with flying training operations. The Air Corps soon decided an additional training field was needed, and a site north of San Antonio was chosen for the new field.
In 1926 and 1927, 1st Lt. Harold Clark designed Randolph while assigned as dispatch officer in the Kelly Field motor pool, although the War Department received the land in 1928. Having trained as an architect prior to entering the military, Lieutenant Clark sketched his ideas of a perfect "Air City" on the back of old dispatch sheets. After learning a new field was to be built, Lieutenant Clark took his drawings to General Lahm, who was so impressed with the designs he appointed him to be the architect in charge of the Randolph Field project. It was, at the time, the largest construction project undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since the Panama Canal.
Once the site for the field was selected, a committee decided to name the base after William Millican Randolph, a native of Austin, who, during his 9-year flying career, earned a remarkable record and contributed immeasurably to the progress of aviation. On Feb. 17, 1928, while returning to his duties at Kelly, he crashed his AT-4 on takeoff from Gorman Field, Texas. Ironically, Captain Randolph was serving on the committee to select a name for the new field at the time of his death. Captain Randolph is buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
Randolph Field was dedicated June 20, 1930, with an estimated 15,000 people in attendance and a fly-by of 233 planes, possibly the largest assembly of military aircraft in the world.
Early in 1931, the School of Aviation Medicine from Brooks Field and the first cadets from the Air Corps Flying School at Duncan Field, then a part of Kelly AFB, began relocating to Randolph. By the autumn of 1931, Randolph was ready for business. On October 1, the Air Corps Training Center moved its headquarters from Duncan Field to Randolph. The flying school at Brooks Field transferred to Randolph on October 20, while the school at March Field transferred on October 25. The School of Aviation Medicine also transferred from Brooks Field during 1931.
Basic flying training continued until March 1943, when the central instructors school took over. For the next two years, training instructors for the Air Corps' ground training and primary, basic and advanced flying training was the main mission. Randolph produced 15,396 instructor graduates from this course before it moved to Waco Field in 1945. When the central instructors school moved to Waco Field it was replaced by the Army Air Force pilot school, which specialized in transition training for B-29 bomber pilots, copilots and engineers. Primary pilot training returned to Randolph from Goodfellow Field on December 1945.
The Army Air Force also planned to return basic pilot training to Randolph on 1 February 1946. Even though basic training transferred from Goodfellow Field in February 1946, the Army Air Force suspended all pilot training when it found itself desperately short of maintenance personnel. The suspension was later lifted and Randolph concentrated on its pilot training mission. The Air Force reshaped pilot training into two separate four-month phases in March 1948. Primary pilot training moved on in December 1950. Basic pilot training changed over to nine new contract schools in July 1951.
Since its beginning in 1930, Randolph has been a flying training base. Pilots had been trained in the basic and primary phase of flying, returned for instructor training or had gone through combat crew training. From 1967-1971 1,269 pilots earned their wings at Randolph. Also, Randolph produced pilots in two unique classes. During WWII, Class 42-X gave 235 pilots their wings in an experimental course. Class 62-FZ produced 25 pilots who completed their training in the new T-38A, still undergoing test and evaluation.
After the Air Force became a separate service Sept. 18, 1947, Randolph Field was officially renamed Randolph Air Force Base on Jan. 13, 1948.
Before the current 12th Flying Training Wing, the 3510th Flying Training Wing was the host unit at Randolph. The 3510th FTW started out as the 3510th Basic Pilot Training Wing on Aug. 28, 1948. This unit became the 3510th Combat Crew Training Wing on Jan. 1, 1952 and then the 3510th FTW on June 11, 1952. The 12th Flying Training Wing replaced the 3510th FTW on May 1, 1972.
The 12th Flying Training Wing traces its heritage back to the 12th Bombardment Group. The 12th BG served in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Burma and India during World War II. When the 12th Flying Training Wing activated on Randolph, it was redesignated from the combat-proven 12th Tactical Fighter Wing.
Bldg. 100, best known as the "Taj Mahal", originally served as the administration building for Randolph Field. Today, the Taj serves as the headquarters of the 12th Flying Training Wing. Located in the building are the offices of both the wing and support group commanders, as well as the senior enlisted advisor, staff judge advocate, military personnel flight, history, and public affairs. The tower portion of the building contains a 500,000 gallon water tank which is still used today. How the Taj got its nickname remains a mystery. According to legend, the name stuck after an unknown student flier likened its appearance to that of one the seven wonders of the world in India. The Taj is 147 feet, 7 5/8 inches tall and is capped by a blue and gold mosaic tiled dome. Ornamental precast concrete grill work covers the tile and plaster tower. The Taj opened officially Oct. 5, 1931, and has served as the headquarters building ever since. March 2, 1976, the Taj was dedicated as a Texas historical site. It was officially listed on the National Registry of Historic Places Aug, 27, 1987.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Randolph AFB, TX, by relocating the USAF Advanced Instrument School (AIS) to Will Rogers AGS. Consolidating AIS and two other agencies relocated in this recommendation at Will Rogers World Airport would create synergy between the Air Force administrative aviation functions and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) located at Will Rogers World. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 29 jobs (16 direct jobs and 13 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the San Antonio, TX, Metropolitan Statistical economic area (less than 0.1 percent).
DoD also recommended to realign Moody AFB, GA, as follows: relocate Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals Training for Pilots to Randolph AFB; and relocate Introduction to Fighter Fundaments Training for Instructor Pilots to Randolph AFB, TX. It also recommended to realign Randolph AFB by relocating Undergraduate Navigator Training to NAS, Pensacola, FL. This recommendation would realign and consolidate USAF's primary phase of undergraduate flight training functions to reduce excess/unused basing capacity to eliminate redundancy, enhance jointness for UNT/Naval Flight Officer (NFO) training, reduce excess capacity, and improve military value. The basing arrangement that flows from this recommendation would allow the Inter-service Training Review Organization (ITRO) process to establish a DoD baseline program in UNT/NFO with curricula that would permit services latitude to preserve service-unique culture and a faculty and staff thatwould bring a "Train as we fight; jointly" national perspective to the learning process. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 1,079 jobs (571 direct jobs and 508 indirect jobs) over 2006-2011 in the San Antonio, TX, Metropolitan Statistical Area (0.1 percent).
In another recommendation, DoD would realign Fort Sam Houston, TX, and Randolph AFB, TX, by relocating the installation management functions to Lackland AFB, TX.
All installations employed military, civilian, and contractor personnel to perform common functions in support of installation facilities and personnel. All installations executed these functions using similar or near similar processes. Because these installations shared a common boundary with minimal distance between the major facilities or are in near proximity, there was significant opportunity to reduce duplication of efforts with resulting reduction of overall manpower and facilities requirements capable of generating savings, which would be realized by paring unnecessary management personnel and achieving greater efficiencies through economies of scale. Intangible savings would be expected to result from opportunities to consolidate and optimize existing and future service contract requirements. Additional opportunities for savings would also be expected to result from establishment of a single space management authority capable of generating greater overall utilization of facilities and infrastructure. Further savings would be expected to result from opportunities to reduce and correctly size both owned and contracted commercial fleets of base support vehicles and equipment consistent with the size of the combined facilities and supported populations. Regional efficiencies achieved as a result of Service regionalization of installation management would provide additional opportunities for overall savings as the designated installations are consolidated under regional management structures. The quantitative military value score validated by military judgment was the primary basis for determining which installation was designated as the receiving location. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 382 jobs (189 direct jobs and 193 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the San Antonio, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area (less than 0.1 percent).
Community Concerns: No formal comments were received from community officials or civic organizations, but individual concerns were expressed in support of "community basing," recommending that existing ANG units be increased in size by assigning active-duty personnel and their associated aircraft to ANG facilities. Individuals maintained that this approach would allow the Air Force to close more active bases and realize greater savings than closing relatively inexpensive ANG bases. Other individual proposals suggested that the VIP transportation mission be transferred from the active Air Force to the ANG.
Commission Recommendations: Realign Randolph Air Force Base, TX, by relocating the USAF Advanced Instrument School (AIS) to Will Rogers Air Guard Station.
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