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LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE. Lackland Air Force Base, located seven miles west of San Antonio, was originally part of Kelly Field (see KELLY AIR FORCE BASE). Early in World War II (June 1942) it was separated from Kelly and became the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center. It provided classification and preflight training for aspiring pilots, bombardiers, and navigators. It was also known as "Kelly on the Hill." By 1945 the base was engaged in the training of personnel for almost every air corps need. These included fiscal officers, nurses, dentists, medical technicians, and chaplains; departments included chemical warfare, equipment maintenance, personnel and budget, and psychological research. In 1946 the base was renamed Lackland Army Air Field for Gen. Frank A. Lackland, an early commander of Kelly Field, and after separation of the air force from the army in 1948 it became Lackland Air Force Base. It is also known as the "Gateway to the Air Force," as all personnel entering the air force were processed and trained at Lackland.

The base continued to expand after the end of World War II. Training programs were introduced for women entering the air force and for officers entering the air force with direct commissions. After the Korean War a language school was established at Lackland. In 1957 Wilford Hall, the largest medical facility in the air force, was completed. By 1958 the air force marksmanship school and the sentry-dog training program had been established at Lackland. In 1966 the air force acquired 3,500 acres from the Atomic Energy Commission, which doubled the size of Lackland and provided the establishment of the Department of Cryptographic Training. Among other major construction, a new wing was added to Wilford Hall Medical Center. As part of the realignment caused by closing bases, Lackland in 1993 had a net gain of 492 jobs. The base lost 109 jobs when the officers training school was moved to Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, after thirty-four years at Lackland. It gained 151 jobs with the transfer of the Inter-American Air Forces Academy to Lackland, and 450 jobs were gained as technical training course instructors from two closing bases were transferred to Lackland.


Robert Carlson, "If the Shoe `Shirt, Cap' Fits...," San Antonio, May 1982. Robert Mueller, Air Force Bases, Vol. 1 (Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Simpson Historical Research Center, 1982). Texas Parade, May 1966. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin (Air Force bases; Military posts).

Art Leatherwood


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Art Leatherwood, "LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 25, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.