I will confess that, although I spent a fair amount of time as a child on Fort Sam Houston, I am almost completely unfamiliar with the Air Force bases in the area. My mother, after all, was former Army, as was my dad, so I had pretty much no traffic with Brooks, Kelly, Lackland, or Randolph AFBs.
The Base Realignment And Closure rounds which began in the 1990s have ultimately benefited Fort Sam, but have shuttered half our other bases. Kelly was the first, and it is held up as a shining example of how to recover from BRAC, being now known as
The portion where Erik's new employer is located, however, was only vacated year before last, and you can tell it used to be a military base. Well, if you're used to the way bases look, I guess. A couple of weeks ago the kids and I were early to pick him up from work and I decided to drive around and have a look-see.
It's...interesting. Even though only a handful of buildings are fenced off, you can still tell what's being used and what isn't. Aside from putting up some real estate company signs, no one's really taking care of the empty buildings, and they're already starting to show the effects. Now, I couldn't get too into the UrbEx with the kids (or even going back later with Erik and the two littles), but I did go around and get some photos just to show y'all how it looks now.
But I did go around back, because I'd seen something strange and wanted to get a picture of it.
There's a small area behind the hangar that is apparently known as Schriever Heritage Park. It has a handful of memorials, and I took photos of all of them. (This will make sense in a moment, I promise.)
Behind that was this:
That, my friends, is a tree planted in remembrance of the war in Iraq. No, not that one. The other one, the one everyone cheered us for. Desert Storm, 1991. Now do you feel old? Because I do. Side note--we actually had a car back then, and at one time we had to park it 'cause we couldn't afford gas. I remember very well the shock of gasoline that cost $1.03/gallon.
Sigh. Actually, that's the part that makes me feel old.
Moving on, I photographed the piece de resistance of the memorial park:
Er...Well, it was. At one point. (If you check the Wikipedia article on Brooks, you can see a photograph of it.)
The rest of these photographs are from last Saturday, just to explain the lighting difference...
I'm kinda surprised these are just sitting there. As many hotels as they keep building in this city, you'd think they'd be all over a few ready-made buildings.
But for all I know, it could be a little bar & grill they just had. The Air Force is odd like that, in my scant experience. There was actually a fantastic little cafe attached to the O Club on Hickam AFB in Hawaii that we went to a few times. Great food--the same stuff they served to the officers next door--and incredibly cheap. So maybe this was something similar. I kind of view the Air Force as a strange land of attractiveness and fun, mainly because of the contrast between Hickam and Pearl Harbor. Hickam had beaches and walking trails and gardens. Pearl Harbor had...overhead steam pipes. Lots and lots of overhead steam pipes.
But I digress...
Anyway, on to the last one. Wait, no. I'll put this up as the second-to-the-last again. Consider me as tricky as those assholes who blocked off a street for no reason at all.
Look, Ma, the Repair Calibration Lab:
OK, the last one for reals:
So, there you have it. A brief, very incomplete walkthrough of what used to be.