The 311th Air Base Group cased its colors Wednesday, marking the Air Force’s departure from Brooks City-Base, a facility that has played a key role in aerospace medicine since it was established in 1918.
After beginning as Brooks Field, before becoming an Air Force base and, most recently, a city-base, the San Antonio installation was at the center of numerous medical breakthroughs, including many that helped American astronauts go to the moon.
For those who were comparing the Air Force’s move of Brook’s 2,800 workers to six other bases to the 2001 closure of Kelly AFB, one speaker at Wednesday’s ceremony noted a significant distinction. “Kelly was a divorce,” said Bob Sanchez, a local businessman who helped create the city-base, reported the San Antonio Express-News.
“Brooks was a divorce with a prenuptial agreement,” he said.
Because of the innovative arrangement that resulted in the formation of the city-base in 2002, local officials are confident that Brooks will continue to prosper as a hub for science, research, technology and business.
The night before the ceremony, former Air Force Secretary F. Whitten Peters was the keynote speaker at a gala celebration for Brooks. Whitten’s support helped San Antonio’s plan to take over Brooks become a reality. The Air Force presence there will officially end Sept. 15.