JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
A hypobaric altitude chamber was relocated to the 344th Training Squadron Career Enlisted Aviator Center of Excellence hangar at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Aug. 25.
Weighing more than 50,000 pounds, the chamber was delivered from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, where it had been housed since its original installation in 1954. This was the first time the chamber had been moved.
“This delivery was the culmination of years of effort from multiple agencies,” said Maj. Jordan Clark, 344th TRS commander. “It will support more than 2,300 enlisted aircrew and several hundred permanent party officer and enlisted flyers from across the JBSA community, resulting in an additional 12 permanent assigned physio staff members, two officers and 10 enlisted, to support multiple chamber flights every week.”
The 344th TRS team worked closely with members of the 19th Air Force to make this repositioning possible and also received support for the 502nd Air Base Wing Civil Engineer.
“There has been over a decade of need for us to have our own physical chamber and through this awesome collaborative effort we made it happen,” said Chief Master Sgt. Robert Reasor, deputy commandant. “This capability will free up many logistical challenges and generate huge time saving.”
Previous to this JBSA-Lackland chamber, 344th TRS instructors and CEA candidates relied on commuting to JBSA-Randolph for their chamber capabilities for all training requirements. Once the chamber is installed and fully operational, all 344th TRS technical training chamber requirements will be able to be accomplished in-house.
“The 344th TRS is a total force team, so this chamber capability will also benefit Reserve and National Guard units in the JBSA-Lackland community,” Reasor said.
The Center of Excellence was stood up in 2006 as part of the 37th Training Group, which encompasses nearly 50 percent of all enlisted Air Force technical training.
CEA Airmen fulfill aviation roles ranging from crew chief to special mission aviators, flight attendant to boom operators and engineers to loadmaster, to name a few. Potential assigned aircraft include the KC-10 Extender, C-5 Galaxy, E-3 Sentry, E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (STARS), and C-130 Hercules.
JBSA-Lackland has not been home to a chamber since the late 1950s when the installation was known as the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center, or SAACC.
When SAACC opened in 1941, the mission focused on training aviation cadets for flight school after their preliminary military training. There was physical and mental training to include psychological tests and various tests involving an altitude chamber.
A time-lapse video of the arrival and positioning of the chamber can be viewed on Facebook and YouTube. To see more imagery visit, https://www.flickr.com/gp/gatewaywing/3H3W95.