Military City USA: San Antonio, TX

military city usa
Photo credit: Rob Schleiffert via / CC BY-SA

San Antonio, Texas has always been home to a strong military presence for close to 300 years. Because of this, it has been nicknamed Military City USA. Today, the city of San Antonio has one of the nation’s largest active and retired military populations. It’s also home to the Department of Defense’s largest medical center at Joint Base San Antonio Fort Sam Houston. San Antonio is proud to welcome the families of the 39,000 students who graduate from military training here each year, because for local San Antonians, training, equipping and caring for America’s service members is a way of life.

military city usa
Photo credit: Rob Schleiffert via / CC BY-SA

Military City USA

There are a number of different military locations scattered around San Antonio. You’ll find Air Force bases and much more. Below are a just a few located in Military City USA:

Joint Base San Antonio Fort Sam Houston

Fort Sam Houston was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1975. As one of the Army’s oldest installations and now part of Joint Base San Antonio, Fort Sam Houston boasts the largest collection of historic structures—more than 900 buildings. Even more consequential than the number is the historical integrity of the post’s different sections which represent eras of construction. Careful preservation of these areas, along with two museums, allows the post to live with its history surrounded by the existence of the traditions of excellence established when the first soldier arrived here in 1845.

Army Medical Department Museum (Fort Sam Houston)

The Army Medical Department Museum traces the U. S. Army’s contributions to medicine and medical evacuation from 1775 to the present. The museum campus includes a military medicine reference and research facility and also augments the training of the more than 36,000 military and civilian students each year.


The Fort Sam Houston Quadrangle is the oldest building on the post, built in 1876 as a supply depot. Children like to visit the Quadrangle, where peacocks, ducks, deer and rabbits roam freely.

Hangar 9

Hangar 9, constructed in 1918 is an old wooden hangar that was home to the Edward H. White II Museum of Aerospace Medicine, located at Brooks, formerly Brooks Air Force Base. The hangar now serves as a site for wedding and special events.

Joint Base San Antonio Lackland Air Force Base

Lackland is the basic military center for Air Force recruits, as well as the site of the Defense Language Institute English Language Center and Inter-American Air forces Academy for International students. Base tours for general public guests are offered on the second Tuesday each month.

randolph air base
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Joint Base San Antonio Randolph Air Force Base

Randolph is home to the 12th Flying Training Wing, the only unit in the Air Force conducting both pilot instructor training and combat systems officer training. In addition, the 12th FTW provides host-base support to more than 30 Department of Defense units, including HQ Air Education and Training Command, Air Force Personnel Center and Air Force Recruiting Service. The wing’s headquarters has been called the Taj Mahal. This is due to its distinctive architecture. It is also listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.

USO San Antonio

USO San Antonio provides outreach services to active duty and retired military personnel and their families. Friendly staff members and volunteers are ready to assist you with information about lodging, transportation, special events, local attractions, and more. There are two San Antonio locations: downtown and at the airport. The Downtown Community Center provides a comfortable home away from home for military members and their families to relax and enjoy themselves just steps away from the historic River Walk. The San Antonio International Airport USO is in Terminal 2 just outside security.

VFW Post 76

The oldest VFW Post in Texas, located on the Museum Reach section of the San Antonio River Walk, serves cold beer in a low-key way. The 17-room mansion was built in 1904 and is open to the public.

*Information courtesy of Visit San Antonio.

When it comes to appreciating service men and women, Military City USA has always gone above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to offering support to military members. From companies offering military discounts to city-sponsored celebrations, the Alamo City does an excellent job conveying respect and honor towards those who serve our country. Each November, San Antonio hosts a tribute event called, “Celebrate America’s Military”. In addition, UTSA was recently named one of the most “Military-Friendly Schools” for the fourth year in a row. It also leads many other schools in honoring students with military experience and facilitating continued education.