Randolph AFB is an Air Force operated military base located in the middle of Texas, only 24 km away from San Antonio. It is also part of Joint Base San Antonio, along with Fort Sam Houston and Lackland Air Force Base. The merge took place on October, 1-st, 2010. The three bases were the subject of the 2005 BRAC (Base Realignment And Closure) commission. Since they were not that important, the facilities on site were not among the best and the three bases were close one to another, the commission decided to merge them in order to create a more powerful base in the area. Not less than 12 such joint bases were formed as the result of the 2005 BRAC commission. The base is named in the memory of an Austin native – William Millican Randolph, who passed away in a plane crash. The base is also known in the area as the snow place of the Air Force due to the constructions. Most facilities were built in the Spanish colonial style. The symbol is a huge water tower that is actually hosted on site. The amazing architecture gave the base a different nickname around the Air Force – the Taj.
The base history dates back to 1927, when the initial construction was approved. It took the authorities a long time to fight with the Army Air Corps in order to set up the precise location in the area. After three years, half the base was finally built and opened, in 1930. More than 230 planes offered a free air show at the groundbreaking ceremony, with over 15000 people admiring the new base.
Over World War II, the base didn’t play a very important role. It hosted basic training activities, but nothing special. In 1943, the new Air Force relocated a flying school on site and that is when the actual expansion of the base began. Although the new school “stayed” there for 2 years only, it helped more than 15000 individuals graduate throughout World War II. It provided training courses in pretty much any field, from advanced techniques to basic instructions. By 1946, the base got back to its original mission – basic training missions. The pilot “production” was also significantly lowered over the years. Around the ’70s, there were about 400 pilots graduating every year.
These days, things haven’t changed too much at Randolph AFB. The current aircrafts used for training include the T 1A Jayhawk, the T 38C Talon and the T 6A Texan II. The students attending the classes are not just American, but coming from multiple NATO countries.
The 12-th Flying Training Wing, the 359-th Medical Group and the 902-nd Mission Support Group represent the three major units hosted at Randolph AFB. Other than these, there are around 10 more tenant units, such as the 19-th Air Force, 340-th Flying Training Group or the Air Force Personnel Center. Each of these units has specific missions and objectives willing to work on the good overall functionality of the base.