Welcome to Military City USA™
The large US Military community in San Antonio takes great pride in the city’s importance to our nation’s Armed Forces.
Military personnel new to San Antonio may wonder why they keep seeing the city referred to as “Military City USA.” The answer to that question involves consideration of San Antonio’s military past and a discussion of its strategic importance as the home of several current U.S. Military bases.
Dating back to World War II, the greater San Antonio area was colloquially referred to as “Military City.” While this label was common knowledge to locals, it’s now gone official, as the city has trademarked the title.
The San Antonio area has hosted a military presence for over 300 years. Today, visitors to Military City USA can visit the Spanish Governor’s Palace, a Spanish military fort of antiquity, at its original home in Plaza de Armas. From antiquity San Antonio has demonstrated military importance – and that remains true through current era. The US Military operates several important active duty military bases throughout the city.
Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA)
Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA) is the largest and most varied joint base in the Department of Defense. JBSA has 11 different sites dispersed on 46,539 acres but it’s four main locations are Randolph Air Force Base, Lackland Air Force Base, Fort Sam Houston, and Camp Bullis.
JBSA supports over 266 mission partners, and its 70,000 individual members accomplish missions daily in an array of sectors, including training missions, flying missions, medical missions, cyber missions, intelligence missions, and installation support missions. JBSA is renowned as a training site, operates the Department of Defense’s largest hospital, and is commanded by the 502nd Air Base Wing (ABW), also known as the “Beast Wing.”
Randolph Air Force Base
Those lucky enough to visit Randolph Air Force Base soon notice two distinct features: the breathtaking Spanish colonial architecture and the intermittent displays of air superiority in the skies above.
Randolph is ideally situated northeast of San Antonio along the I-35 Corridor. Positioned about halfway between downtown San Antonio and New Braunfels, Randolph Air Force Base employs military personnel with various options where to live.
If you’re assigned to Randolph, note that all the following areas are within 30 minutes of the Base:
- I-35 Corridor San Antonio to Austin
- North San Antonio and Highway 281 Corridor
- San Antonio's Northwest and The Gateway to Hill Country
- San Antonio’s West Side
- Uptown Inside 410
- San Antonio’s South Side
- Midtown Inside 1604
There are also rural communities on the border of San Antonio close to Randolph Air Force Base.
Lackland Air Force Base
Lackland Air Force Base is best known as the sole site of Basic Military Training (BMT) for the entire Air Force. It’s located on the other side of San Antonio from Randolph Air Force Base, about 13 miles southwest of downtown San Antonio.
Lackland Air Force Base is a short drive southwest of downtown San Antonio. It is convenient to the entire west and northwest side of San Antonio, including neighborhoods such as Alamo Ranch, the Great Northwest Neighborhood, Westover Heights, Leon Valley, Helotes, and Boerne. Rural communities like Lytle, Somerset, Castroville, and Devine are also within reach for Air Force personnel at Lackland Air Force Base seeking a pastoral lifestyle.
Fort Sam Houston
Fort Sam Houston also contains the most extensive collection of historic buildings in the Department of Defense. Military personnel wanting to be near the middle of town often live in neighborhoods like Bel Meade, East Terrell Hills, Terrell Heights, Mahncke Park, or the tri-cities of Terrell Hills, Alamo Heights, and Olmos Park. The base is convenient, centrally located, and within a short commute to nearly all communities in and around the Greater San Antonio Area.
Camp Bullis is a large training base northwest of San Antonio. Although Camp Bullis has very few full-time active duty personnel stationed at the base, it is a hub of activity. The base supports all field training exercises for Army and Air Force personnel stationed at the other large bases in JBSA.
Camp Bullis is situated between Highway 281 and Highway 10, north of Texas State Highway Loop 1604 and south of Boerne. For service members whose duty finds them frequently at Camp Bullis, ideal places to live include Stone Oak, Timberwood Park, Roger’s Ranch and Fair Oaks Ranch.
What to Love
- All four main JBSA bases are close to family friendly and comfortable communities
- None of the four main JBSA bases are more than a 30-minute drive from downtown
- San Antonio is full of excellent venues for dining, entertainment, and shopping
Military City USA has convenient access to educational facilities and universities, including: