Fort Sam Houston, Texas
The U.S. Army has maintained a presence in the Alamo City since 1845. During that time, the installation has performed five distinct and important roles: that of a headquarters, logistical base, mobilization and training site, garrison and provider of medical support.
At first, the Army leased facilities in the City of San Antonio, including the Alamo. In fact, the Army repaired the Alamo structure and added a roof so it could be used as a headquarters.
In 1876, the Army began to move its facilities to the present site of Fort Sam Houston upon completion of the Quadrangle. The post has since increased in size from the original 92 acres donated to the Army by the city, to approximately 3,000 acres today.
As it expanded, additional facilities were built to meet the Army's needs. The headquarters and garrison always have constituted one of the Army's most important commands. Prior to the Civil War, the headquarters controlled 25 percent of the Army's forces. From 1910 until World War Fort Sam Houston was the largest Army post in the continental United States. Many of the most distinguished American soldiers have served here, including no less than 13 Army Chiefs of Staff and two United States presidents.
The post's prominence led to significant tactical and organizational innovations. Military aviation was born here in 1910 and revitalized during the 1940's and 1950s. Large-scale troop maneuvers have been conducted, including the first effective use of the Command Post Exercise in 1911. Field exercises in the 1930's developed the Triangular Division. This streamlined, mobile organization was the foundation of the Army combat power in World War II. The delivery of troops to the battlefield by air also was tested here in 1939-41. Aeromedical evacuation of casualties was first developed here as early as 1917.
At the end of the Second World War, the Army decided to make Fort Sam Houston the principal medical training facility. In conjunction with this decision, came the determination to develop Brooke General Hospital into one of the Army's premier medical centers. Today, Fort Sam Houston is the largest and most important military medical training facility in the world.
Throughout it's existence, a close and harmonious relationship has prevailed between Fort Sam Houston and the City of San Antonio. The two have grown and matured together. The city often has been called the "mother-in-law of the Army" because so many soldiers including Dwight D. Eisenhower, met their future spouses here.
The significant contributions of Fort Sam Houston to the United States were recognized in 1975 when the post was designated as a National Historic Landmark. As one of the Army's oldest installations, Fort Sam Houston boasts the largest collection of historic structures -- more than 900 buildings.
Even more consequential than the numbers is the historical integrity of the post's different sections which represent different eras of construction and reflect Army concepts in planning and design. Careful preservation of these areas allows the post to live with its history, surrounded by existence of the traditions of excellence established when the first soldier arrived here in 1845.
But Fort Sam Houston does not dwell in the past. The installation is a dynamic and growing installation, taking on new missions such as the home of the Army Medical Command headquarters, in addition to command headquarters such as Fifth U.S. Army, U.S. Army South, Fifth Recruiting Brigade, 12th ROTC Brigade, U.S. Navy Regional Recruiting, the San Antonio Military Entrance and Processing Station, and the U.S. Naval School of Health Sciences, Bethesda Detachment.
Also located at Fort Sam Houston are Brooke Army Medical Center, the Great Plains Regional Medical Command, Headquarters Dental Command, Headquarters Veterinary Command, the Institute for Surgical Research (trauma/burn center), the Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute, and the Army Medical Department NCO Academy.
More than 27,000 military and civilian personnel work at the post, with an annual payroll and operating budget of $1.9 billion. Local purchases made by installation activities total almost $105 million annually. Funding for construction projects on post average $30 million annually.
Fort Sam Houston also has initiated public–private partnerships to renovate and adaptively reuse significant historic buildings.
Known as the AMEDD’s brain trust, the Army Medical Department Center and School annually trains more than 25,000 students attending 170 officer, NCO and enlisted courses in 14 medical specialties. The command maintains several academic affiliations for bachelor and masters degree programs with major universities such as Baylor University, University of Texas Health Science Centers at Houston and San Antonio, and University of Nebraska.
The privatization of Fort Sam Houston housing took effect on March 1, 2005. The Partnership, between the Department of the Army and Lincoln Military Housing, is called Fort Sam Houston Family Housing, LP (FSHFH), which owns and operates military housing on post. The goal of the public-private partnership is to eliminate inadequate housing and provide Soldiers and their families with improved homes and high quality community and recreational amenities. The FSHFH partnership will construct, improve and maintain Fort Sam Houston family housing for the next 50 years, and assume responsibility and control over every aspect of family housing operations on post. Property management services are provided by Lincoln Military Housing (LMH). The Residential Communities Initiative (RCI) Office provides oversight of LMH.