Your Lackland Air Force Base Area Guide
Your orders say Lackland AFB. And you are excited to be moving near the seventh-most populated city in the United States, San Antonio! This southwestern corner of an urban region known as the Texas Triangle is comprised of Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. Read below for all of your must know information and visit our website PCSgrades.com today to start your housing research and find a REALTOR!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Lackland AFB is home to the Air Force Cyber Command and Basic Military Training and is one of several military installations housed under the name Joint Base San Antonio. Nearby Randolph AFB is headquarters for Air Education and Training Command, Air Force Personnel Center, and Pilot Instructor Training. Fort Sam Houston is home to the command headquarters of the United States Army North, the United States Army South, the Army Medical Command headquarters and the Navy Regional Recruiting. It is commonly referred to as the "Home of Army Medicine."
Camp Bullis and Camp Stanley are located just outside the city. Port San Antonio is an industrial/business park and aerospace complex located on the old Kelly Air Force Base airfield. San Antonio is also home to six Fortune 500 companies and the South Texas Medical Center, the only medical research and care provider in the South Texas region.
Local attractions include Sea World and Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme parks. The five-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs also call San Antonio home.
LACKLAND AFB HOUSING
Lackland Family Housing offers move in ready two-, three- and four-bedroom homes in both single-family and townhome styles in seven different neighborhoods. Balfour Beatty Communities owns the family housing and is responsible for maintaining, repairing and managing the community. Check out our complete collection of Lackland AFB base housing photos and read reviews atPCSgrades.com.
For a complete picture of what you can expect of the amenities on base, check out our Lackland Slideshow!
The median home price in the area around Lackland is $215,500. Home appreciation is up 36% over the last five years. If you work with a PCSgrades reviewed realtor, you'll find there is a rental or mortgage to fit every BAH. Military families reviewing off base neighborhoods in the area recommend those looking to rent or buy start their search about 30 minutes away from base.
There are two schools located on base at Lackland: Lackland Elementary and Stacey Junior/Senior High School. Other independent school districts include Edgewood, Medina Valley, Northside, and South San Antonio. Options for high schools include the communication arts high school and the health careers high school. The Lackland AFB School Liaison Officer can be reached at 210-671-3722.
You can expect mild winters and sweltering summers in Texas. While San Antonio stays pretty dry when it does rain it pours and the area easily floods, especially near downtown. The coldest month is January with an overnight average temperature of 38°F. The highest temps occur In July, August, and September when residents can expect multiple days where the temperature is well over 100°F.
There are more vehicles than ever on the roads surrounding San Antonio but depending on what you are used to, it may not seem that bad. The San Antonio urban area ranked 33rd in the nation for time wasted during peak commute times. The good news is when there are major delays; drivers have decent alternative routes compared with other cities.
The mild San Antonio climate allows for diverse outdoor activities year round. Open spaces provide ample opportunities for bicycle riding, hiking, and canoeing.
The River Walk offers cobblestone paths with towering trees for four miles through the heart of the city. A variety of restaurants are sure to please even the pickiest of palates. Work off your lunch or dinner with a relaxing canoe or kayak trip along a 1.6-mile stretch of the San Antonio River from Mission Road to Padre Park.
REMEMBER THE ALAMO
Perhaps San Antonio's most famous attraction, the Alamo is the home of the famous 1836 battle and becomes a living history with special demonstrations and events all year long. This beautiful 300-year-old former Spanish mission turned fortress is open year-round and is free for everyone to visit.
MISSIONS NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
A chain of four Spanish colonial missions—Concepción, San José, San Juan, and Espada—feature eight miles of paved cycling and walking path. Canoes and kayaks can be paddled along sections of the Mission Reach. The visitor center is located at Mission San José.
More than 340 acres of woodland, trails, and a historic par-72 golf course are sure to please outdoor lovers! Your little ones will love riding a miniature train around the park. Here you will also find the San Antonio Zoo, an elegant Japanese Tea Garden and the Witte Museum, featuring historic and science artifacts and the H-E-B Science Treehouse.
SAN PEDRO SPRINGS PARK
San Pedro Springs is the second oldest municipal park in the nation and is truly an urban oasis. There are 46 acres featuring walking/hiking paths and a lake for summer swimming.
PHIL HARDBERGER PARK
Phil Hardberger Park is a 311-acre former dairy farm with two sections, one accessible from Blanco Road and the other from Northwest Military Highway. Both areas feature playgrounds, walking trails, picnic tables, and dog parks.
There are several parks in the area, especially for your four-legged family members.
Hardberger Park on Blanco Road has 1.8 acres for dogs, including separate areas for small and large dogs and a two-story doghouse. The west side of Hardberger Park on NW Military Highway features an enclosed 1.5-acre area for dogs, divided into sections for large dogs and small dogs.
In downtown San Antonio, the .65-acre Dog Park at Madison Square Park features a fenced off-leash area, mutt-mitts, a doggie drinking fountain, and benches.
McAllister Park has 1.5 acres set aside for dogs, which include a covered picnic area and walking trail.
CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS
San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo has events all year long. The Rodeo is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and the Women's Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) and kicks off in February. In addition to the rodeo, there is Brickfest LIVE! – a LEGO Fan Experience built to inspire, educate, and entertain with LEGO bricks. The Ultimate BMX Stunt Show Experience is an exciting show featuring one of the Best BMX Stunt Show Teams in the Nation! Brad's World Reptiles includes some of the most beautiful and exotic animals in the world!
Fiesta San Antonio is a 10-day annual celebration in the spring. It started in 1891 as a one-parade event as a way to honor the memory of the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. It has evolved into one of this nation's premier festivals involving hundreds of volunteers, benefiting hundreds of local charities, with an economic impact of more than $284 million for the Alamo City.
Enjoy some German food in this quaint city, which is a little more than an hour away from San Antonio. In addition to the National Museum of the Pacific War, Fredericksburg has plenty of birding, fishing, bicycling and rock climbing opportunities. The Fredericksburg area also boasts the second most visited wine area in the US, second only to the Sonoma wine region in California. Visit some of the over 40 wineries in the Hill Country along the Highway 290 Wine Road outside of Fredericksburg.
Visit the beautiful state Capitol building and then hop over to 6th street to have some fun! Known as the "Live Music Capital of the World," any night is a good night to catch a live band. Many San Antonio residents make the short 90-minute drive to attend large Austin Music festivals like South by Southwest and Austin City Limits Music Festival. More of a sports fan? Don't forget to catch a University of Texas game while you're there – the locals will be all dressed in orange and the phrase of the day will be "Hook Em!"
The pink granite exfoliation dome called Enchanted Rock is about an hour and a half north of San Antonio. The dome rises 425 foot above ground and covers 640 acres. Bring a kite and get ready for some great camping, picnicking and seven miles of hiking trails.
Have you ever been stationed at Lackland AFB or in the San Antonio area? Help fellow military and veteran families by leaving your reviews for on base housing, moving companies, and more at PCSgrades.com.
This post sponsored by PCSgrades.
Yeah! You got orders to (insert foreign country overseas)! You can already picture your kids in the international school, speaking with cute little accents and wearing local garments. Adorbs. You've got your housing picked out, adventures planned and passport photos taken. You're ready for your epic move ... except for that 13 hour plane ride. Have you wrapped your head around that yet? Before you grab for a paper bag and start hyperventilating, use our travel hacks to help make the emotional turbulence you're experiencing a little lighter.
We've all said it: "We'll drive. It won't be that bad." We picture the adventure, the memories, the nostalgia of car trips when we were younger.
But if we're really being honest with ourselves, think back to those car trips. Someone was crying. Someone was puking. Someone was whining. That person very well may have been your poor mother. True story, my mom once got out and walked along the highway when all six of us kids wouldn't stop fighting. A long car trip can be daunting, but with our tips and tricks they don't need to be.
WE ALL HAVE OUR SHARE OF HORROR STORIES WHEN IT COMES TO MILITARY MOVING!
Name the most disgusting item erroneously packed by your movers… for me it was used coffee grounds and of course, trash. For others, I've heard everything from wet towels to dirty diapers. I've caught movers raiding my fridge, lounging on my mattress in my front yard, and throwing out items that they've broken. Raise your hand (or have a drink) if you ever had packers show up late (or not at all). Ever had packers get into a shouting match among themselves as they were packing your china? Or have you caught your movers throwing boxes down the stairs to the basement? That would be me!
With each military move, there are "lessons learned". For instance, I won't go into great detail but let's just say after watching one packer go directly from using the restroom back to packing my kitchen without washing his hands, we now use gigantic ziplock bags to "pre-pack" all my kitchen utensils. A packers' bare flesh has never again touched one of my kitchen utensils.
My family's last military move was by far the shortest, only 1½ miles up the road. We were moving from a rental to a home we purchased. It was by far the worst in terms of damage and overall angst. I think because we were only "moving up the road" the pack job left a lot to be desired. I found one box of dishes which had not one piece of wrapping paper! Instead two throw pillows from my family room were used as a buffer! Amazingly, nothing was broken! Go figure!
When I heard glass shatter in the moving truck, I asked one of the guys what shattered.
There are any number of reasons why in a given situation renting might be better than buying or vice versa. For military families, it might make more sense to buy at one duty station and then rent at the next. Up for consideration with each PCS is whether to buy or rent, to stay on-base or off. In making these decisions, there are numerous pros and cons to consider.
PROS TO BUYING
- Purchasing the right home can be a great financial investment that can grow in value over time.
- Tax deductions such as mortgage interest and property taxes can greatly reduce your overall income tax burden if you itemize.
- Being a homeowner can give you pride of ownership and a sense of stability, rare in the military life which can seem nomadic at times.
- A mortgage payment that is lower than your BAH can result in a boost to your savings.
- You can decorate however you want! Goodbye white walls! Hello, Color!
- Anyone can stay with you at any time. So it is not a problem when your Mom or sister comes for an extended stay during a deployment or following a PCS.
- You can do (almost) whatever you want….host a late night party, plant a garden, knock a wall down!
- There are no security or pet deposits when you buy a home.
- You have the opportunity to become a landlord when military orders arrive and you have to move. Your home can become an investment property, providing a source of income which can partially or totally offset your mortgage, taxes, and insurance payments.
While retired military Space A travel is a privilege, there are some retirees that do not have this privilege. There are different categories of retirees, some are eligible for Space A and some are not. But there are efforts to change the eligibility requirements.
For a retiree to be eligible for Space A travel they must possess a 'Blue' DD Form 2 (Military ID card). This includes those that are medically retired. Their dependents are also allowed to travel with them and must bring along their ID cards. All dependents should be enrolled in DEERS.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR RETIRED MILITARY SPACE A TRAVEL?
There are plenty of rumors out there saying that ALL retirees are eligible. This is not true. If you are 100% disabled and you only possess a DD Form 1173, or the new DD Form 2765 ID cards, you are not entitled to travel on Space A. Also, if you possess the brown ID card with DAVPRM (Disabled Veteran Permanent) in the bottom right, then you too are not entitled to retired military space a travel Space A travel privileges.
Dependents of retirees are not allowed to travel without the retiree. If the retiree dies, then the dependents no longer have Space A privileges.
If you are a member of the Guard or Reserves with a 'Red" DD Form 2 you can travel through CONUS (Continental United States), to, from, and between Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico. Also, if you are active duty for more than 30 consecutive days, Guardsmen and Reservists may fly anywhere that Space A flies.
Dependents of the Guard and Reserves are not authorized to fly on Space A until the member reaches the age of 60. At that time, they will be in the same category as a regular retiree, Category 6. Retired Guardsmen and Reservists who have completed their 20 years but are not old enough to collect their retired pay are considered to be in a "gray area".
AN ACT OF CONGRESS
There have been attempts to change the eligibility of all of the above retirees and dependents.
The first Bill to be submitted to the House of Representatives was House Bill 4164 aka Space-Available Act of 2012. This bill sought to authorize the Secretary of Defense to establish a program to provide transportation on Department of Defense (DOD) aircraft on a space-available basis for (1) active duty and reserve members holding a valid Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card; (2) retired members who, but for not attaining age 60, would be eligible for military retired pay; (3) an un-remarried widow or widower of an active or reserve member; and (3) certain dependents of members described above. Allows the Secretary to establish an order of priority based on considerations of military needs and readiness.
This Bill was sent to the Subcommittee on Readiness in March of 2012 where it has sat with no action.
Earlier this year, a measure to establish a space-available transportation priority for veterans of the Armed Forces who have a service-connected, permanent disability rated as total was introduced in the house. That bill HR 936 was referred to the House Subcommittee on Readiness.
HAVE YOUR VOICE HEARD
How can you help? Write your Congressman. Make your voice known.
The Gray Area Retirees Facebook group was created to talk about these problems and to try to get the changes implemented.
Space-A eligibility is sometimes confusing and false information is passed around often. Check out the resources in this article for any updates.
PCSgrades.com is a review platform for military and veteran families. Leave a review of your prior duty station and read the reviews of where you are PCSing to. Home is where the military sends us and together we can make a difference!
This post sponsored by PCSgrades.