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San Antonio Joint Base San Antonio History

 at Joint Base San Antonio

Situated in Bexar County, San Antonio is the second-largest city in Texas, and aptly known as “Military City USA” as home to Joint Base San Antonio. The city is about 150 miles southeast of the state’s geographic center, southwest of Dallas and Austin and west of Houston.

JBSA encompasses three separate installations: Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base and Randolph Air Force Base. These bases were combined under a single organization following 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Round recommendations, forming the largest joint base in the DOD. The joint base has diverse training, flying, medical, cyber, intelligence and installation missions.

The Air Force is the lead agency for JBSA, comprising the three primary bases along with eight other operating locations and more than 200 mission partners. The Air Force established the 502nd Air Base Wing to provide installation support across all JBSA locations and its Air Force commander also serves as the JBSA commander.

JBSA services more DOD students than any other installation and more active runways than any other installation; houses the DOD’s largest hospital and only level one trauma center; and interfaces with 1,000 civic leaders of San Antonio, 20 smaller communities, four counties and four congressional districts.


With its three separate major installations, JBSA is one of the military’s largest joint bases in terms of population. The Army’s Fort Sam Houston and the Air Force’s Lackland and Randolph bases have nearly 61,000 military personnel and 27,000 civilian personnel. Other personnel include more than 64,000 family members; more than 85,000 Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine retirees; and nearly 216,000 veterans. All together, the base supports more than 450,000 personnel.


With congressional approval and President George W. Bush’s signature, money-saving recommendations from the Base Realignment and Closure Commission took effect in 2005. The commission consolidated the three major military facilities in San Antonio — the Army’s Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base and Randolph Air Force Base — into a single joint base, Joint Base San Antonio, to eliminate duplicated support services. JBSA is one of a dozen such U.S. bases created by the law.

Three mission support groups from the Air Force’s 502nd Air Base Wing give installation support to the three entities, which were formally merged on Oct. 1, 2010. The 502nd Air Base Wing commander serves as the commander for the joint base. Each installation, though, maintains its individuality, customs and pride.

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