Randolph Air Force Base
Randolph Air Force Base (1931-Active) - A United States Air Force base first established in 1931 as Randolph Army Air Field at Schertz, Bexar County, Texas. Named after Captain William Millican Randolph who was killed in an air crash on 17 Feb 1928. Renamed Randolph Air Force Base in 1948. Active military installation.
Headquarters of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) as well as the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC). The 12th Flying Training Wing (12 FTW) provides instructor pilot training and refresher/recurrency training in the T-6A Texan II, T-38C Talon and T-1A Jayhawk. The wing also operates the T-1A for Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training.
Designed to be a flying training base, Randolph was built during the beginning of the great depression. Construction started in 1928 and it became operational as a primary flying school (but not completed) on 2 Nov 1931. An impressive flyover of 233 planes took place as a part of the dedication ceremony on 20 Jun 1930.
The layout of the base was unique with a central rectangle housing the base facilities flanked by two parallel 8351 foot runways. Aircraft Hangers the base side of both runways and separate control towers were built for each runway. The entire base was built in the Spanish Colonial Revival Style architecture.
Within the base area was a set circular roadways and at the center of this circle was the Officer's Club and radiating out from that was officer housing. Enlisted barracks and base services lined the area between the circles and the hanger rows. Base operations, the two control towers, barracks and administrative buildings lined the south end of the post. At the north end of the base was a unique structure destined to define the base, known as the Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal (building 100 ) was really a 170 foot tall water tower. It became an iconic structure when it was disguised in a Spanish Colonial Revival Style octogonal tower with an artfully designed observation deck and cap. At the base of the tower spread out on both wings was an administration building and out the back end the base theater.
The basic flying training mission at Randolph continued and ramped up during World War II. In March 1943 the mission shifted to the training of flight instructors for all three phases of flying training and administration. At the end of the war the rapid demobilization reduced and finally caused the temporary suspension of flight training at Randolph.
On 18 Sep 1947 U.S. Air Force became a separate service and on 13 Jan 1948 Randolph Army Air Field was officially renamed Randolph Air Force Base. Flight training continued at Randolph through the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and continues today, threatened only by the rapid population growth in surrounding Bexar County.
Randolph also serves as headquarters of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) as well as the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC). AETC manages training for Air Force personnel on a world wide basis while AFPC manages world wide assignments of most Air Force personnel.
Visited: 19 May 2015