For any community that has a military base, the letters B R A C are very scary! They can mean base closings, job losses, related business closings, loss of city revenue, and all manner of things that most city leaders don’t want to have to contemplate, much less deal with!
2005 saw some BRAC activity (Base Realignment and Closing). San Antonio went through the pain when Kelly AFB was closed. With Ft. Sam Houston, Lackland AFB, and Randolph AFB all here, we worried about what might happen. Something happened all right–San Antonio won the BRAC lottery!!
I attended a program last week put on by our San Antonio Board of Realtors. Our speaker, Chief Master Sergeant Kevin Lambing, USAF, gave us an update on progress of the Medical Education and Training Campus that’s currently in progress here.
The military is currently in the middle of approximately $3 billion in construction projects going on at Ft. Sam Houston and the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC). These projects include new construction as well as renovations to existing buildings. When all is complete, 81,000 personnel will have come into town and 18,100 jobs will have been created! All this in support of the creation of the Military Medical Center. Going forward, all military medical personnel will be trained here at BAMC–from all branches of the military.
We will have a Medical Education and Training Campus with 8000 students by September, graduating 24,000 students a year to work in the medical field as support staff in all specialities and all branches of the military. The Center will include 1400 instructors. It is the largest educational consolidation in U.S. military history!
Ft. Sam will also be home to the Battlefield Health and Trauma Institute.
In all, there will be 42 new facilities built around BAMC–all state-of-the-art in everything, approximately 2.6 million square feet of space!
These military medical personnel are the best at what they do! They care for soldiers wounded in battle and get them home safely. Did you know that if field personnel can get a wounded soldier to a field hospital alive, he or she has a 98% chance of survival? I call those pretty darn good odds!
Of course, Ft. Sam is already home to the Center for the Intrepid, which helps severely wounded soldiers recover and resume their lives. It’s also home to a remarkable facility called the Warrior and Family Support Center, which assists the wounded soldiers and their families in adjusting to their new normals. It also provides a place to relax and get away from all the rehab and just enjoy themselves. One of the organizations I’m involved with–the Texas Chapter of Certified Residential Specialists–raises funds for this Center so we can stock their kitchen and provide other things to help them just be who they are–young men and women!
The courage and dedication of our military folks and their families is always inspiring. I’m glad to see some of my tax dollars being spent to support them and train them to help their fellow military brothers and sisters!