Randolph Air Force Base was dedicated June 20, 1930, as a flying training base and continues in that mission today.
The idea for Randolph began soon after the establishment of the Air Corps Act in 1926, which changed the name of the Army Air Service to the Army Air Corps, created two new brigadier general positions and provided a five-year expansion program for the under-strength Air Corps. One of the new general officer positions was given to Frank P. Lahm, who was placed in charge of all flying training.
General Lahm established the Air Corps Training Center and set up its headquarters at Duncan Field, next to Kelly Field, Texas. He soon learned the facilities at Kelly and Brooks Fields were not sufficient for proper training. The buildings, erected during World War I with a life expectancy of five years, had no suitable areas for ground training and the living quarters were inadequate. San Antonio's rapid growth was also beginning to interfere with flying training operations. The Air Corps soon decided an additional training field was needed, and a site north of San Antonio was chosen for the new field.
In 1926 and 1927, 1st Lt. Harold Clark designed Randolph while assigned as dispatch officer in the Kelly Field motor pool, although the War Department received the land in 1928. Having trained as an architect prior to entering the military, Lieutenant Clark sketched his ideas of a perfect "Air City" on the back of old dispatch sheets. After learning a new field was to be built, Lieutenant Clark took his drawings to General Lahm, who was so impressed with the designs he appointed him to be the architect in charge of the Randolph Field project. It was, at the time, the largest construction project undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since the Panama Canal.
Once the site for the field was selected, a committee decided to name the base after William Millican Randolph, a native of Austin, who, during his 9-year flying career, earned a remarkable record and contributed immeasurably to the progress of aviation. On Feb. 17, 1928, while returning to his duties at Kelly, he crashed his AT-4 on takeoff from Gorman Field, Texas. Ironically, Captain Randolph was serving on the committee to select a name for the new field at the time of his death. Captain Randolph is buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
Randolph Field was dedicated June 20, 1930, with an estimated 15,000 people in attendance and a fly-by of 233 planes, possibly the largest assembly of military aircraft in the world.
Early in 1931, the School of Aviation Medicine from Brooks Field and the first cadets from the Air Corps Flying School at Duncan Field, then a part of Kelly AFB, began relocating to Randolph.
By the autumn of 1931, Randolph was ready for business. On October 1, the Air Corps Training Center moved its headquarters from Duncan Field to Randolph. The flying school at Brooks Field transferred to Randolph on October 20, while the school at March Field transferred on October 25. The School of Aviation Medicine also transferred from Brooks Field during 1931.
Basic flying training continued until March 1943, when the central instructors school took over. For the next two years, training instructors for the Air Corps' ground training and primary, basic and advanced flying training was the main mission. Randolph produced 15,396 instructor graduates from this course before it moved to Waco Field in 1945. When the central instructors school moved to Waco Field it was replaced by the Army Air Force pilot school, which specialized in transition training for B-29 bomber pilots, copilots and engineers. Primary pilot training returned to Randolph from Goodfellow Field on December 1945.
The Army Air Force also planned to return basic pilot training to Randolph on 1 February 1946. Even though basic training transferred from Goodfellow Field in February 1946, the Army Air Force suspended all pilot training when it found itself desperately short of maintenance personnel. The suspension was later lifted and Randolph concentrated on its pilot training mission. The Air Force reshaped pilot training into two separate four-month phases in March 1948. Primary pilot training moved on in December 1950. Basic pilot training changed over to nine new contract schools in July 1951.
Since its beginning in 1930, Randolph has been a flying training base. Pilots had been trained in the basic and primary phase of flying, returned for instructor training or had gone through combat crew training. From 1967-1971 1,269 pilots earned their wings at Randolph. Also, Randolph produced pilots in two unique classes. During WWII, Class 42-X gave 235 pilots their wings in an experimental course. Class 62-FZ produced 25 pilots who completed their training in the new T-38A, still undergoing test and evaluation.
After the Air Force became a separate service Sept. 18, 1947, Randolph Field was officially renamed Randolph Air Force Base on Jan. 13, 1948.
Before the current 12th Flying Training Wing, the 3510th Flying Training Wing was the host unit at Randolph. The 3510th FTW started out as the 3510th Basic Pilot Training Wing on Aug. 28, 1948. This unit became the 3510th Combat Crew Training Wing on Jan. 1, 1952 and then the 3510th FTW on June 11, 1952. The 12th Flying Training Wing replaced the 3510th FTW on May 1, 1972.
The 12th Flying Training Wing traces its heritage back to the 12th Bombardment Group. The 12th BG served in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Burma and India during World War II. When the 12th Flying Training Wing activated on Randolph, it was redesignated from the combat-proven 12th Tactical Fighter Wing.
phone numbers: Commercial (210)652-1110 or
address: Randolph AFB, TX 78150
5,955 active duty; 3,021 civilians
family housing units; 477 unaccompanied personnel units
middle and high school on base run by Randolph Independent
Care: One center and approved home care
care: Clinic. Appointments
(210)652-2273; benefits/Tricare (210)652-2933
Randolph AFB - Universal City, TX
large size commissary - (210)652-6547,
a large exchange, a mall, and one shoppette (210)658-7471. Recreation at Randolph AFB - Universal City, TX
includes arts and crafts, bowling, library, auto hobby,
recreation center, theater, golf, gym, tennis, swimming,
outdoor activities, camping, fishing, and stables.