The military history of Texas is a fascinating subject. Texas has been home to many different wars and battles throughout its long, tumultuous history. The State of Texas can house many military bases due to the availability of natural resources such as oil in the state, but it also offers excellent opportunities for training exercises that are not available anywhere else in the United States. This article will explore some of these locations and historical events, along with their impact on Texas’s economy today.
Map of Texas Military Bases
The Lone Star state has a rich history and culture that is influenced by its diverse population. Texas military bases have been an integral part of the Texas landscape for centuries, with the first permanent base being established in 1837. You may be wondering where are they located? What do they specialize in? The answer to these questions can be found below!
Camp Bowie Army Base
Camp Bowie is located on the outskirts of Brownwood and is one of four training sites for the Texas Army National Guard. It was originally a military training facility during WWII, and home to the 36th Infantry Division. Camp Bowie trains an average of 70,000 people per year, most from the Texas Military Forces. Today the base remains an active military training center.
Camp Bullis Army Base
Camp Bullis is a United States Army training site located just northwest of San Antonio. Spanning almost 28,000 acres, it houses an urban assault course, a live-fire shooting house and a Combined Arms Collective Training Facility. Camp Bullis, along with Camp Stanley, make up the Leon Springs Military Reservation. It serves as home base for medical field training at the Brooke Army Medical Center. In addition to the medical training, the site also provides maneuver areas for the Air Force, Army and Marine combat training.
Camp Stanley Storage Activity Army Base
Also known as CSSA, Camp Stanley is charged with receiving and storing ordnance materials and ensuring the quality of weapons and ammunition testing for the US Military. It makes up half of the Leon Springs Military Reservation, with Camp Bullis making up the other half. CSSA occupies about 4,000 acres and provides more than 630,000 square feet of storage pace and testing areas. In addition to weapons training and qualifying tests performed here, it is also said to have been an arms depot handling untraceable weapons for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Camp Mabry Army Base
Located in Austin, Camp Mabry is home to the headquarters of the Texas Military Forces, which are made up of the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard and the Texas State Guard. It is the third oldest active base in the state. Camp Mabry is home to the 136th Regional Training Institute, the Officer Candidate School, the Non-Commissioned Officer Courses and various other education centers for the State Military.
Camp Swift Army Base
Camp Swift once served as a POW camp for German fighters during WWII. Today the camp is owned by the Texas Army National Guard and serves as a training center for the National and State Guard, various active armed forces, civil law enforcement, high school ROTC programs and the Civil Air Patrol. Training areas are varied, including weapons firing, tank maneuvers, personnel and cargo air drops, small arms firing, infantry skills, helicopter operations, combat engineering skills and more. Camp Swift is also Central Texas’s primary staging area for state emergencies.
Fort Bliss Army Base
Fort Bliss is a unique Army post in that while it’s technically located in metro El Paso, 90% of the training grounds are actualy located in New Mexico. Fort Bliss covers approximately 1.12 million acres of land and is home to over 38, 500 active duty service members. The base is home to the US Army Air Defense Artillery Center, the largest education center for training Air Defense Artillery units. It also hosts the 1st Brigade Armored Division, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery and many more. Fort Bliss considers themselves the place to be for world-class training, a leader in innovation and committed to energy conservation and renewable energy employment.
Fort Hood Army Base
Fort Hood Army base is located on the edge of Killeen, Fort Hood is often referred to as The Great Place because the quality of life at the post is considered one of the best in the country. It’s one of the largest bases area-wise in the world, spanning across almost 300,000 acres of land. Fort Hood is home to III Corps Headquarters, a major subordinate command of US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). The 1st Cavalry Division, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade, the 21st Cavalry, and more also call Fort Hood home. The 4th Infantry Division is also based here – they are the division that was responsible for carrying out the operation that captured Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Martindale Army Airfield
Martindale Army Airfield upholds its goal of providing safe training areas for the Texas Army National Guard rotary wing pilots. The airfield is located about 10 miles away from the heart of San Antonio. Most of the pilots on base are part of the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade of the Texas Army National Guard. Martindale Airfield currently holds flights throughout the week, usually with UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters. They also run night flights using night vision goggles which they loan out to visiting pilots. You can often obtain a flight slot on relatively short notice.
Red River Army Depot
The Red River Army Depot (RRAD) is located in the Four States Area of Texas in Bowie County. RRAD excels at the repair, rebuild, overhaul and conversion of tactical wheeled vehicles and the Army’s light tracked combat vehicle fleet. The staff here possess a wide range of essential skills that are vital to the support of today’s war fighter. They have a unique flexibility that allows them to quickly shift their focus to meet the changing requirements both on base and and overseas via deployment teams to cater to the needs of our combat and tactical fleets. RRAD resources include the design, fabrication and manufacture of anything from specialty parts to prototype weapon systems and vehicles.
Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth
NAS JRB Fort Worth was the first Joint Reserve Base established in the United States. Their overall mission is to give support and the highest quality training for our Reserve and Guard war fighters in all branches of the Armed Services. Training operations focus on training aviation ground support and the appropriate education of air crews. NAS JRB Fort Worth is home to around 40 separate commands and consists of more than 10,000 active duty service members, Guardsmen, Reservists and civilian workers.
Naval Air Station Corpus Christi
NAS Corpus Christi is home to the Chief of Naval Air Training, Training Air Wing FOUR, the Corpus Christi Army Depot and other smaller tenants. Pilots from the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and other foreign nations work toward their wings in the FOURS squadrons of Training Air Wing FOUR at Truax Field. While the overall command assignment is pilot training, the Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) is the largest tenant command on the base. It occupies roughly 140 acres of NAS Corpus Christi and it’s the largest facility like this in the world. The depot is specifically designed for the modification, repair, retrofit, modeling, overhauling and testing of aircraft engines, helicopters and other parts for rotary wing aircraft.
Naval Air Station Kingsville
NAS Kingsville located about 3 miles from its namesake. The base boasts a technologically advanced airport that deals primarily with military missions, regardless of their nature. Because it’s so far inland, personnel here are unable to support operations over water. That being said, it remains one of the primary training grounds for the US Navy. The general mission is to select and prepare professional pilots for the Navy, Marine Corps and other allied nations and NATO members. The base hosts seven units, including the Training Squadron 22 (Golden Eagles), Training Air Wing 2 and the Training Squadron 21.
Dyess Air Force Base
Dyess AFB is the host of the 7th Bomb Wing, who is assigned to the 12th Air Force. The 7th Bomb Wing boasts a B-1B combat training squadron, two combat squadrons, a test and evaluation squadron focused on the B-1B Bomber and a weapons school. In fact, the 7th BW is the only formal training program for B-1B aircraft. There is an operations, maintenance, mission support and medical group assigned to the 7th Bomb Wing, and all work together to uphold the mission to train world-class Airmen and provide air power to warfighters in the USAF. Dyess AFB is also the most energy efficient base in the Air Force. They actively use green energy alternatives including wind and biomass energy for power and constantly look for ways to improve their environmental footprint each and every year.
Goodfellow Air Force Base
Goodfellow AFB is a non-flying base that focuses on teaching service members in cryptology and intelligence. The primary host unit is the 17th Training Wing who’s mission is to train and inspire exceptional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and fire protection professionals to serve the United States in times of need. The 344th Military Intelligence Battalion joins them on base with a duty to educate soldiers and lead signals intelligence operations when called upon. The 344th has over 70 classes in session at any given time, graduating around 1,700 students each year. Although it’s under the command of the USAF, personnel from other branches including the Army, Navy and Marine Corps also train here on a regular basis.
Laughlin Air Force Base
Located near Del Rio, Laughlin AFB is in the southwestern part of Texas. It runs the most pilot training operations of any base in the military, running more flights weekly than any other airfield in the United States. The 47th Flying Training Wing is the host unit here at Laughlin, supported by its mission support, medical and operations groups. Together they run a specialized undergraduate pilot training program utilized by the United States Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and allied nations forces, training approximately 500 pilots a year. Training primarily takes place using T-6, T-38 and T-1A aircraft. Laughlin has one goal – to build combat ready Airmen, leaders and pilots.
Sheppard Air Force Base
Sheppard AFB has been one of the premiere training bases for the United States Air Force for over eighty years. It is one of the largest facilities for the Air Education and Training Command (AETC). The base handles both flying missions, graduating over 80,000 pilots a year, and technical training, graduating more than 67,000 recruits a year. It is the host base to the 82nd Training Wing, the 80th Flying Training Wing and the Noncommissioned Office Academy. Together these units work to fulfill the base mission to recruit, train and education exception Airmen.
Joint Base San Antonio
As part of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission in 2005, it was recommended that Fort Sam Army Base, Randolph Air Force Base, Lackland Air Force Base and 8 other operating locations combine to create Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA). This was a large merge, creating the largest joint base in the country. It services more Department of Defense students than any other facility. It also has more active runways, is home to the only level one trauma center in the DoD, and supports more than 250,000 personnel. In 2013, command decided to inactivate the 502nd, 802nd, and 902nd mission support groups and created the 502nd Force Support Group, the 502nd Installation Support Group and the 502nd Security Forces and Logistics Support Group respectively. These three groups work to provide unrivaled installation support and service to all JBSA locations.
Lackland Air Force Base
Lackland Air Force Base is an installation belonging to Joint Base San Antonio. It is best known as the only Air force Entry Processing Station for incoming recruits. The official mission of Lackland AFB is to motivate, train and inspire the next generation of Airmen with the foundation to deliver 21st Century Airpower. Every single person in the country who enlists in the US Air Force, Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard will come through Lackland AFB. This is where all new recruits complete their Basic Military Training. Upon arrival, the trainees are assigned to one of six squadrons located on the base and over the course of 8 weeks train to become a distinguished member of the USAF.
Fort Sam Houston
Fort Sam is one of the Army’s oldest installations, and is now part of Joint Base San Antonio. Origins of Fort Sam date back to 1876 with the construction of a Quartermaster supply depot outside of San Antonio. After WWII, Fort Sam became known as the home of Army medicine with the founding of the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC). BAMC has continued to grow over the decades and today it is responsible for medical training for all branches of the military that use JBSA.