The complete Lackland Air Force Base guide

Jessica Evans
Updated onDec 12, 2022
6 minute read
C-5M Galaxy at Lackland AFB

(U.S. Air Force photo by Brian J. Valencia)


Perched in the city’s northwest edge, Lackland Air Force Base is the sole processing station for Basic Military Training. So,…

Perched in the city’s northwest edge, Lackland Air Force Base is the sole processing station for Basic Military Training. So, if you’re enlisting in the Air Force, Air Force Reserves or Air National Guard, you’re heading to Lackland. In fact, Lackland is part of a joint installation which includes Fort Sam Houston and Randolph AFB. That means you'll get plenty of military experience while you're there! It was named for Brigadier General Frank Lackland. 

San Antonio is affectionately referred to as Military City, U.S.A, by locals. This joint installation contributes nearly $50 billion a year to the San Antonio community. Equally important, it employs 20% of the local population. So, if you’re tired of living in places where you’re the odd green-suiter, say hello to Lackland AFB! 

Lackland Air Force Base Location

Lackland Air Force Base is located in San Antonio, Texas, and is a part of Joint Base San Antonio, which includes Fort Sam Houston and Randolph Air Force Base. In fact, it's the only entry processing station for Air Force enlisted Basic Military Training (BMT). Wondering what to expect as you prepare for boot camp? Here are 7 universal truths you should know!

A fog engulfs an entire outdoor flight museum, Dec. 9, 2021, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The airpark is an extension of the U.S. Air Force Airman Heritage Training Complex under the Air Education and Training Command and happens to be one of the largest in the Air Force. Since 1950 the mission and scope of the collection was to display Air Force progress with the earliest and latest in aerospace technology. To this day it continues to serve the purpose of educating and instilling pride in our joint military personnel, the public, veteran groups, school groups, and international visitors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Brian G. Rhodes)


Lackland AFB can be reached by car using the following routes.

Heading in from the north? Take I-35 S to I-10 to US-90 W, follow signs for Lackland AFB

Making the trek from the east? Take I-10 W to US-90 W, follow signs for Lackland AFB

Coming from the west? Take TX-55 S to US-90 E, follow signs for Lackland AFB


Flying to the closest airports: San Antonio International Airport

San Antonio International Airport (19 miles) is the only airport nearby and is served by all major airlines with multiple destinations.

Driving: Driving will allow you to visit nearby cities. San Antonio is 151 miles from the U.S.-Mexico Border, so be prepared for a long drive - especially through the state of Texas!

Contacts at Lackland AFB

U.S. Air Force Col. Scott J. Thompson, 502d Installation Support Group commander reads to children at the Lackland Elementary School Mar. 1, 2019 at Joint Base San Antonio. Libraries across JBSA are participating in Read Across America week, which is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that encourages children to celebrate reading. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ismael Ortega / Released)

Base Operator: (210) 671-1110

Base Exchange: (210) 674-6465

Chapel: (210) 671-2911

Commissary: (210) 671-2837

DEERS Office: (210) 671-6006

Equal Opportunity Office: (210) 671-4284

Housing Office: (210) 671-1840

Legal Office: (210) 671-3362 

Lodging Reservations: (210) 671-4277

Main Outpatient Pharmacy: (210) 916-1536

Medical Appointments: (210) 916-9900

Mental Health Clinic: (210) 292-7361

Military Family Life Counselors: (210) 984-1076 or (210) 238-5528 

Personal Property Management Office: (210) 671-2823

Public Affairs Office: (210) 671-2907

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office: (210) 671-7273

SAPR 24-hour Hotline: (210) 808-7272

Visitor Center: (210) 671-6174

Mission and Units 

Staff Sergeant Christopher Gordon is a military training instructor at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. He and his colleagues are the face of the Air Force for hundreds of trainees throughout the year and they mold new recruits through a recently overhauled and expanded Air Force Basic Military Training that focuses on a 'warrior first' philosophy. (USAF photo)

Lackland's mission is to provide basic training for all non-prior service Airmen of the regular Air Force, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve. It also aims to offer modern technical training in security and law enforcement, military working-dog handling, combat arms, recruiting, supply, transportation, services, food preparation and social actions.

Right now, Lackland is under the authority of the 802nd Mission Support Group, Air Education and Training Command, commonly known as the AETC.

Additionally, Lackland AFB is home to the 37th Training Wing (37 TRW), which operates a variety of training squadrons. In fact, within the 37th TRW is the 37th Training Group (37 TRG) which oversees the 5 technical training schools on the base, and the 737 TRG, which oversees the Basic Military Training squadrons.

Lackland AFB History

Lackland Air Force Base opened in July 1942, when the War Department separated the part of Kelly Field lying west of Leon Creek and made it an independent installation, naming it the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center.

After February 1946, all enlisted airmen began their Air Force careers at Lackland. While Lackland’s technical training mission grew out of the Korean War, Lackland gained its first permanent technical training responsibility in May 1954, when the Officer Candidate School implemented the USAF Recruiting Course.

With the closure of Kelly AFB on 1 April 2001, the Air Force transferred the airfield operations mission and real property west of Kelly’s hanger line to Lackland. For the first time in its history, Lackland gained a runway, but training remained its most visible mission.

Back in 2005, the Department of Defense received Congressional authorization for a Base Realignment and Closure Round. Like many other installations impacted by BRAC, the DoD looked at how to combine bases to save money. Under the BRAC Joint Basing Recommendation for San Antonio, installation support functions at Lackland were combined with those at the Army’s Fort Sam Houston and Randolph Air Force Base. Surprisingly, this paved the way for the largest joint base in the DoD. The Air Force is the lead agency for Joint Base San Antonio, comprising three primary locations at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, JBSA-Lackland, and JBSA-Randolph, plus eight other operating locations and more than 200 mission partners.

Tech Sgt. Tony Perez, Texas Air National Guard F-16 crew chief, arms the ordinance by removing the safety pins March 13, 2013 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. (U.S. Air Force photo by Benjamin Faske) (released)

Things to Do Around Lackland AFB


Comfort Inn near Seaworld - Lackland AFB (6.7 miles)

Motel 6 San Antonio (5.5 miles)

Quality Inn near Seaworld - Lackland (5.8 miles)


Mina & Dimi’s Greek House (2.6 miles): Locally owned Greek restaurant

Sukhothai Thai Restaurant (3.7 miles): Thai food

El Coqui Restaurant (1.9 miles): Puerto Rican food

A team member of the 149th Fighter Wing Gunfighter Coyotes defends against an opposing player during the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland intramural soccer tournament at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, July 22, 2017.


The Alamo (14 miles): Visit the historic Spanish Mission San Antonio de Valero, site of the Battle of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution. The site features mission tours and gift and book shops.

Scobee Planetarium (13 miles): The Scobee Planetarium offers Friday night public presentations at 6:30 p.m., 8 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. The 6:30 p.m. show is family-friendly, the 8 p.m. show is a live presentation of “The Sky Tonight,” and at 9:30 p.m. there is a movie presentation.

Morgan’s Wonderland Amusement Park (24 miles): Morgan’s Wonderland is the world’s first theme park designed with individuals with special needs in mind. Of course it's open to everyone! Morgan’s Wonderland has 25 attractions, including a Ferris Wheel, plenty of water-related activities and an amphitheater. 

U.S. Air Force Brig. General Caroline M. Miller (left), 502d Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio commander and U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Wendell Snider 502ABW and JBSA-Lackland command chief participate in the live streamed tree lighting ceremony Dec. 2, 2020, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. on Lackland AFB. JBSA-Lackland kicked off the Christmas festivities with a tree lighting ceremony outside the Gateway Club. The tree-lighting ceremony marks the beginning of the Christmas season at the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Robert H. Dabbs)

Lackland Air Force Base Housing

Because Lackland pools its joint resources, there’s a ton of housing available both on and off base. Like always, you need to report to your Military Housing Office as soon as you arrive. There, you’ll receive a brief about options available to you. 

Family housing is offered by Balfour Beatty. This private company owns and operates six distinct neighborhoods on and near the base. When you call a Balfour Beatty residence home, you’ll enjoy open floor plans, fenced-in backyards and other perks!

Unaccompanied housing is offered for unaccompanied Airmen in the ranks of E-1 to E-3 and E-4 with less than 3 years of service. Each Airman is provided a private sleeping room, furnishings, bed linens and supplies required for comfortable living. Unaccompanied Airmen in the rank of E-4 with greater than 3 years of service and above can live in the local community.

Of course, you can always look on the local real estate market for housing options. Talk with your MHO for more information. 

Trey Soule, center, launches his model rocket during STARBASE Kelly, a five-day summer camp providing math, science and technology education to fourth, fifth and sixth-graders.

Schools Near Lackland AFB

Lackland is such a massive installation that it has its own school district. In fact, this independent school district only draws students who live within the base. Like other schools in the state, it functions as any other Texas school district. That means it's not maintained or operated by DoDEA. Of course, all mil-kid students can request to be transferred into the Lackland School District. Speak with the base School Liaison for more information. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Lackland AFB open to the public?

No, you can only visit Lackland AFB if you are visiting for graduation or another event.

What tech schools are at Lackland AFB?

Lackland AFB is home to the Navy Technical Training Center and the following Air Force Technical Trainings:

  • In-Flight Refuel
  • Flight Engineer
  • Loadmaster
  • Airborne Mission Systems Operator
  • Flight Attendant
  • Special Missions Aviation
  • Safety
  • Logistics Plans
  • Materiel Management
  • Traffic Management
  • Air Transportation
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Security Forces Officer
  • Health Service Administration Officer
  • Physician Assistant Officer
  • Health Service Manager
  • Medical Materiel
  • Biomedical Equipment
  • Mental Health Service
  • Diet Therapy
  • Cardiopulmonary Lab
  • Physical Medicine
  • Aerospace Medical Service
  • Otolaryngology
  • Pharmacy
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Medical Lab
  • Ophthalmology
  • Dental Assistant
  • Dental Lab
  • Contracting
  • Military Training Instructor (MTI)
  • Enlisted Accessions Recruiter

Are civilians allowed on Lackland Air Force Base?

Yes, if you are there for a graduation or other event.

How long is basic training at Lackland Air Force Base?

Basic Military Training is eight-and-a-half weeks.