Originally part of Kelly Field, Lackland Air Force Base was established on July 4, 1942. The area was known as “The Hill” when it was part of Kelly Field and has grown from a small complex used for training to the location where every Air Force enlisted member receives their basic training. The base is also home to training for Security Forces and Officer Candidate School. Visitors to the base can view multiple static displays of vintage aircraft. Lackland gained its own runway in 2001, but the primary mission remains training future enlisted members and officers.
The property of Kelly Field west of Leon Creek, known once as “The Hill,” served as a training center with an inaugural class
of 1,906 in November 1941. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, demand for military personnel
skyrocketed and the War Department re-designated this as a pre-flight school
and classification center for the Army Air Corps. Noting the
additional demand at Kelly Field's flying school, the Adjutant General had this area separated
from Kelly Field and what would soon become Lackland Air Force Base became the Army Air Corps' San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center on June 26,
1942. On Independence Day, the classification center, preflight school, station
hospital, Air Force band, and other units from the Gulf Coast Army Air Forces
Training Center were activated at the new facility.
The SAACC grow quickly, with 90,000 flight training candidates passing through
the preflight school. By the end of
1942, recruits for basic training also started coming to the center to receive
their training in a tent city on site. Throughout the course of the war, the
center offered multiple training missions for officer candidates as well as directly
Following the end of World War II, the center closed on June
30, 1945. The area was later re-designated as the San Antonio District, Army Air Forces
Personnel Distribution Command. The facility was tasked with reassigning or separating
soldiers from service overseas over the next year. While most war-time training camps closed, the Army re-designated The Hill as the Army Air Forces Military Training Center on February 1, 1946. The Hill was given what would become its central mission: providing basic military training for the Army Air Force. This
new mission also brought the Officer Candidate School to San Antonio from
Maxwell Field, Alabama. November 1 of the same year brought another re-designation
as the Indoctrination Division.
all of these name changes, the War Department decided to name the facility after Brigadier General Frank D.
Lackland, the officer who originated the idea of aviation cadet reception and training at
Kelly Field. On July 11, 1947, Lackland became the official name of the base that would become known as “the gateway to the Air Force.”
The first permanent technical training at the base came in
1954, when the OCS implemented the USAF Recruiting Course, with the first
technical training unit, the 3275th, transferred from Parks AFB,
California in 1956. The next year, cryptographic equipment maintenance training
came from Scott AFB in Illinois. 1958 saw new missions relating to air police
training at the base. Until 1962, the Officer Candidate School was producing
reserve officers from the enlisted corps. The Officer Training School commissioned
college graduates with no previous service as well as airmen who received
undergraduate degrees until the school moved to Maxwell AFB in 1993.