Lackland Air Force Base (LAFB) is a military training base on the west side of San Antonio, Texas, in the US. The base opened in 1953. It is currently operated by Air Education and Training Command, and owned by the US Air Force (USAF). It provides training in cryptographic instrument maintenance, security and law enforcement, working dog maintenance, combat arms, recruiting, supply, transportation, dietary services and social action missions.
USAF awarded a $2.1m contract to cyber-security provider Trusted Computer Solutions in July 2009 to support the force’s Cryptologic Systems Group for two years in the base.
Lackland Air Force Base history
Built on a 7,000-acre site, Lackland was originally part of the Kelly Field Air Force Base. It became an independent organisation in 1942. LAFB was named after Brigadier General Frank Lackland in February 1948.
The number of basic military training squadrons at the base increased to 28 to meet Korean War requirements. Later, the war in Vietnam resulted in the split phase during 1965 and 1966. The trainers were split in shifts, flight sizes were increased and the training period was cut from 30 to 24 days to meet the war’s requirements.
The base was renovated with 1,000-person steel and brick recruit housing and training dormitories in the 1960s to replace the World War II-era military open-bay barracks. These buildings incorporate dining halls, six full-size dormitories and training areas for four basic training squadrons.
The closure of Kelly Air Force Base in 2001 provided the flying mission to the LAFB. Security Hill, located in the Kelly AFB, is also occupied by Lackland. LAFB currently comprises Kelly airstrip, Security Hill, main base Lackland and the Old Medina officer training base.
A major restructuring of the base was unveiled by the US Department of Defence on 13 May 2005 as part of its base realignment and closure programme. The base has been the alternative location for the 24th Air Force since May 2009.
LAFB merged with Randolph Air Force Base, Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis in 2009. The combined base is designated Joint Base San Antonio and operated by the 502nd Air Base Wing.
Design and construction
Merrick & Company provided conceptual design for a 21,000ft² dining hall, vehicle maintenance and operations complex, fuel operations, a refueller complex and the inter-American Air Force Academy training complex at LAFB.
Initial construction of LAFB began in June 1941. USAF awarded Merrick & Company a $900m contract in September 2009 to construct eight state-of-the-art airman training complexes (ATC) and four associated dining-classroom facilities in two campuses. These two campuses will replace the training buildings and 1,000-person recruit housing that has been there since the 1960s. The dining and classroom facilities will cost $32 million.
Each ATC can accommodate 1,200 trainees and is expected to cost around $75m. Each will have its own running track, drill pad, war skills area and utility infrastructure.
Work on the first ATC began in November 2009 and is scheduled to finish in early 2011. Construction of the second ATC will begin in 2010. Work on the dining and classroom facility began in February 2010 and is expected to be complete by 2011.
The construction of two campuses will be finished within nine years. After completion, each dining-classroom facility is expected to serve two ATCs.
The Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment awarded a $18.5m contract to AMEC Earth and Environmental consultancy in July 2009 to construct a 74,000ft² airfield maintenance training complex in the base. The complex will include classrooms, aircraft operations and hangar maintenance training areas. It is expected to open in 2010.
The headquarters of 37th Training Group and the 737th Training Group are located in LAFB. The base also houses 802nd Mission Support Group, Air Force Reserve Command’s 433rd Airlift Wing, Air Mobility Command, the Texas Air National Guard 149th Fighter Wing, 24th Air Force, 688th Information Operations Wing, the Air Force Information Operations Center and the Air Force Information Operations Battlelab.
Other tenant units of the base include the 59th Medical Wing, Civil Air Patrol, Corps of Engineers, Defence Commissary Agency, Government Printing Office, Air Force Security Forces Center, Naval Technical Training Center Lackland, Tops In Blue, 651st Munitions Squadron, the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency, Inter-American Air Force Academy and the 67th Network Warfare Wing.
Lackland AFB air facilities
The base features a single runway jointly used by Lackland AFB and the city of San Antonio. The runway is 3,523m long and is surfaced with concrete. It can accommodate the C-5 Galaxy, F-16 Fighting Falcon, B-52 Stratofortress, F-4 Phantom II, SR-71 Blackbird, C-121 Constellation, B-17 Flying Fortress and B-25 Mitchell.
Training facilities, rest rooms, coffee shops, sporting fields, dining facilities, recreation and medical care facilities are offered to the staff and personnel living on the base.