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First military flight remembered at JBSA

By Senior Airman Stormy Archer | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | March 03, 2017


Members of the JBSA community gathered to celebrate the 107th anniversary of military aviation on March 2 at the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston MacArthur Parade Field.

On March 2, 1910, then U.S. Army Lt. Benjamin Foulois became the first person to make a military flight, from a military facility, in a government owned plane flown by a military-trained pilot.

“It’s truly an honor to be here to talk about this momentous event and our shared history,” said Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle, 502nd Air Base Wing and JBSA commander. “This is an event that brings us together as a joint fighting force and is the legacy you will all be taking forward.”

Foulois was sent to San Antonio from Washington, D.C., with the task of assembling a new aircraft and learning how to fly. After some instruction from Wilbur Wright, Foulois, who had never flown solo or attempted a landing, was able to fly the 30-horse power, two-propeller biplane a total of seven-and-a-half-minutes, and attained a height of 200 feet, circling the field at a speed of 30 mph.

“On this spot 107 years ago, military flight came into being in its infancy,” retired Air Force Col. Howard Ham said. “A measly 20 years later, we had many different types of military flying machines. Warfare and its planning, as well as its conduct, would never be the same. This iconic event remains branded into history with our presence.”

The ceremony ended with a wreath laying and a performance of Taps by the Floresville High School Air Force Junior ROTC chorale in honor of the accomplishments made by Foulois and his team, and to remember how military aviation was born in San Antonio.

502nd Air Base Wing Foulois JBSA JBSA-Fort Sam Houston