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JBSA partners with local governments to ensure citizen, pilot safety

By Lori A. Bultman | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | Nov. 10, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —

To ensure the safety of base aircrew and citizens residing near Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, a blanket Intergovernmental Support Agreement was utilized for the first time with the Alamo Area Council of Governments which incorporates a contract managed by Universal City, Texas. This historic partnership was publicly recognized at an event Nov. 10. 

The first phase of the project initiated under the blanket IGSA included purchasing homes within JBSA-Randolph's airfield Clear Zones, safely demolishing those homes through the contract, and creating open green spaces to increase flight and community safety.  

During the 1970s and 80s, the Department of Defense conducted studies and found most aircraft accidents historically occurred on or near a runway. Policy was created requiring a specific area near the ends of each DOD runway be kept clear of housing and other development. 

The policy states all Class B runways, like those at JBSA-Randolph, must have a 3000-foot x 3000-foot Clear Zone, which is currently not the case. Prior to 2015, the JBSA-Randolph runways were operating under a waiver to use 2000-foot x 3000-foot Clear Zones.  

“The demolition of these aged houses will help ensure the safety of our neighbors in Universal City and Schertz, while also allowing JBSA mission partners to continue focusing on their core mission of training tomorrow’s military aviators,” said Brig. Gen. Caroline M. Miller, 502nd Air Base Wing and JBSA commander, during an event recognizing the partners involved in the project Nov. 10.  

Among those showing their support at the event were Lt. Gen. Marshall B. "Brad" Webb, commander of Air Education and Training Command; retired Maj. Gen. Bob LaBrutta, former 502nd ABW commander; Brig. Gen. Laura Lenderman, director of plans, programs and requirements at AETC; Diane Rath, AACOG executive director; John Williams, Universal City mayor, as well as his city council and several political representatives.  

“What you see before you is an incredibly important project for JBSA, particularly the flying-training missions of JBSA-Randolph, AACOG, and the City of Universal City,” Rath said. “Demolition of these derelict homes is going to improve flying safety for the Air Force, promote public safety and remove blight for the City and residents of Universal City, and help AACOG promote our important contributions to protecting the missions of JBSA from incompatible land uses.” 

Home to one of JBSA’s largest mission partners, the 12th Flying Training Wing, JBSA-Randolph offers the only Air Force installation with dual simultaneous instrument approaches on parallel runways and is one of the busiest in the Air Force, as it averages over 200,000 flight operations annually, said Col. Scott Rowe, 12th FTW commander.  

“The 12th's mission is vital to the Air Force's overall pilot production efforts and produces all Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training instructors through our instructor training program,” he said.  

“Through multiple local partnerships and the Intergovernmental Support Agreement with AACOG, we have been able to proceed with correcting JBSA-Randolph's clear zones to meet established safety standards,” Miller said. “Please keep in mind that the clearing of all the required spaces will take time though. 

“The progress we are making here together is a good start, and an excellent example of our various of partnerships that will allow us to accomplish more, spend less, and support each other,” Miller said.   

In the future, Miller hopes these kinds of partnerships will continue with AACOG.  

"AACOG and Universal City’s support to the military community is phenomenal, and truly appreciated,” Miller said. “Your efforts on this project and ones to follow are vital to our mission success.”