Randolph AFB, San Antonio, TX

Home to the 12th Flying Training Wing, Randolph AFB is the only unit in the Air Force conducting both pilot instructor training and combat systems officer training. Additionally, the 12th FTW provides host-base support to more than 30 Department of Defense units, including HQ Air Education and Training Command, Air Force Personnel Center and Air Force Recruiting Service.

The concept for Randolph began soon after passage in the United States Congress of the Air Corps Act of 1926. The Air Corps Training Center and its headquarters were originally sited at Duncan Field, next to Kelly AFB. These facilities were soon deemed inadequate for the Air Corps needs, and the current location, north of San Antonio, near Universal City was selected.

Randolph AFB is named after Captain William Millican Randolph. An Austin, TX native and Texas A&M graduate, Captain Randolph was killed in the crash of an AT-4 on February 17, 1928. Ironically, Captain Randolph was serving on the name selection committee for the new field at the time of his death. He is buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.

The official dedication ceremonies were held in June 1930, and the base began receiving cadets in the fall of 1931. Due to the mandate of the Air Corps Act of 1926, all rated pilots must comprise 90% of all commissioned officers of the Air Corps. Because of this requirement, nearly all officers of the Air Corps were required to undergo Randolph’s rigorous pilot training program and, in combination with the architectural beauty of the base, the unofficial nickname “West Point of the Air” was given to Randolph Field. The 1935 Hollywood film, “West Point of the Air”, was filmed on location at Randolph.

During World War II, many military installations fielded an intercollegiate football team. In 1943, the team from Randolph, nicknamed the Ramblers, achieved a 9-1-0 record, and was invited to play in the January 1, 1944 Cotton Bowl Classic, where they battled the University of Texas at Austin to a 7-7 tie. In the 1944 season, with such players as former All-American and National Football League Rookie of the Year Bill Dudley, as well as eight other former NFL players, the team went undefeated and untied in 11 games, and was voted #3 in the nation by the Associated Press poll.

The TajSince its inception in 1931, Randolph has been a flying training base. Pilots were trained in the basic and primary phases of flying, and returned for instructor pilot training or went through combat crew training. It wasn’t until January 15, 1964, that the first pilots to actually pin on their wings at Randolph were 21 foreign students. To date, only two classes, both experimental, have pinned on their wings after completing flying training at Randolph.

Between August 1 and September 30, 1957, the Air Training Command moved its headquarters from Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, to Randolph. The T-33 and T-38 arrived in the early 1960s to bring jet aircraft training to the base. The Air Force Instrument Pilot Instructor School arrived in September 1961, followed closely by the Air Force Military Personnel Center in November 1963 and the Air Force Recruiting Service in July 1965. On May 1, 1972, the 3510th Flying Training Wing was inactivated and replaced by the 12th Flying Training Wing.

In October 1993, joint training programs with Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard student navigators and instructors joining their Air Force counterparts began.

Randolph AFB was designated a National Historic Landmark in August 2001 by the National Park Service.

In February 2010, Randolph Air Force Base’s host unit changed from the 12th Flying Training Wing to the 902d Mission Support Group. The change marked a transition to Joint Base San Antonio, when the 902d MSG became part of the 502d Air Base Wing at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Leave a Comment

Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree

Previous post:

Next post: