Medina Base, also known as the Medina Annex, at Lackland AFB in San Antonio Texas was initially a National Stockpile Site (NSS) constructed between 1953 and 1955. A Modification Center was built at Medina Base in 1959 for disassembling weapons, at which time storage operations were discontinued. On 13 November 1963 a large chemical [non-nuclear] explosion involving components were from obsolete weapons which were being disassembled. The chemical explosives detonated with a force equivalent to more than 60 tons of TNT. There was little contamination from the nuclear components stored elsewhere in the building. Injuries to workers were minor, and adjacent work areas were not damaged. The disassembly/modification work was transferred to Pantex from Medina in 1965.
The Security Forces Center moved to Lackland's Medina Annex from Kirtland AFB, N.M., in November 1997. Air Force Officer Training School [OTS] moved to Maxwell AFB in 1993 from Medina Annex. An Air Force "quality of life" milestone was reached at Lackland's Medina Training Annex in Janueary 2000 when the new Frank Tejeda Estates, an Air Force privatized housing initiative, was unveiled. The project, named in honor of the late Texas Congressman Frank Tejeda, provides homes for E-3 through E-7 enlisted members and their families assigned to Lackland. It is the Air Force's first housing privatization initiative using the Alternative Authority for Acquisition and Improvement of Military Housing enacted by the National Defense Authorization Act of 1996. Rent for these units is capped at the basic allowance for housing for respective E-3 through E-7 members. Landmark Organization of Austin, Texas, designed, constructed and owns, operates and manages the new rental housing development.
Lackland AFB, the "Gateway to the Air Force," is located on the southwestern fringe of San Antonio--the city that is called the cultural mecca of the Lone Star State. Lackland encompasses approximately 7,000 acres and is separated into three major sections by two highways. One of Texas' most unique annoyances are fire ants. Their bites leave blister-like marks on the skin. These small, almost black ants will aggressively attack in swarms if their mound is disturbed. To the unknowing, their dirt mounds look harmless, but fire ants have been known to kill animals. Their bite isn't usually fatal to humans, but is painful, especially to those allergic to their bite.
Lackland AFB exists today with the 37th Training Wing as the host installation command, flanked by the largest tenant, the 59th Medical Wing (i.e. Wilford Hall Medical Center). Lackland's mission is to provide training for all non-prior service airmen of the regular Air Force, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve; provide modern operations training in the fields of cryptographic equipment maintenance, security and law enforcement, military working dog handler, combat arms, recruiting,supply, transportation, services, dietary and social actions. Lackland also provides students from 117 countries the opportunity to increase their proficiency in the English language through its Defense Language Institute English Language Center.
Lackland Air Force Base was established on June 26, 1942, when the War Department separated part of Kelly Field and names it San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center (SAACC) to support the war effort. From its inception, SAACC witnessed rapid growth and transitioned from a former field training and bombing range through a variety of missions: the hub for flying training, site for the officer training and commissioning orientation, a staging area for all veterans returning from WWII for reassignment or separation, and eventually, established as the basic military training center for officers and enlisted personnel entering the Army Air Forces. Unfortunately, the acronym SAACC ("sack-c") evolved into the less affectionate name of "sad sack" which underscored the makeshift and haphazard configuration of the base. Coupled with numerous name changes, a significant identity crisis emerged for base personnel. Fortunately the base's downhill reputation was checked in 1947 when it was renamed Lackland Air Force Base in honor of Brigadier General Frank D. Lackland. Brigadier General Lackland, a former Kelly Field Commander, had originally proposed and campaigned for an aviation and cadet reception center on this site.
Lackland established itself as a cohesive training base and formalized training evolved to support the Air Force Mission: " To Fly, To Fight, To Win." The basic training and commissioning programs inspired Air Force pride. A technical training group was established to oversee the many courses now taught at on base.
The Korean and Vietnam Wars severely tested Lackland's capacity to train new recruits and satisfy mobility demands. Training populations in the 1950s soared to 55,000 with only a maximum capacity of 25,000. Rapidly built wooden structures, built in 1941, to include the "Mobilization Open Bay" (MOB) dormitories, burst at the seams and forced the mass erection of a tent city. Temporary facilities, to include the "I" dormitories, were hastily erected as a quick fix to house the new recruits.Base operating support requirements force reactive planning, which often resulted in inadequate implementation.
During Vietnam, resourceful leaders split training shifts, increased flight sizes, and compressed training from 30 to 24 days to satisfy the urgency for military readiness. Training requirements also expanded to include teaching English to allied military members from foreign countries.
As a result of the contingencies of the 1950s and 60s, construction of permanent facilities, to include the 1,000 person steel and brick Recruit Housing and Training (RH&T) facilities for basic military training, cemented Lackland's training responsibilities. During the 1990s, Desert Storm revalidated our training value. Also, from the Cold War demise, base realignment and closure (BRAC) actions relocated several specialized training programs at Lackland.
In 1992, Lackland celebrated its fiftieth anniversary and also opened the doors for IAAFA's people and its training mission in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. Air Education and Training Command emerged in 1993 under Air Force reorganization and relocated OTS to Maxwell AFB, Alabama.
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