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NEWS | March 3, 2023

JBSA celebrates 113th anniversary of first military light

By Pfc. Gianna Sulger U.S. Army North Public Affairs

U.S. Army North hosted a celebration March 2 that acknowledged that 113 years ago, then-U.S. Army Lt. Benjamin D. Foulois was the first pilot to conduct a military flight at Fort Sam Houston. 

The anniversary celebration took place at the Benjamin Foulois Historic Marker at the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Main Flagpole, located at 2595 Stanley Road, just a few hundred feet from where the man who helped usher in the dawn of military flight made his historic journey 113 years ago.

Lt. Gen. John R. Evans Jr., Commanding General, U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) and Senior Army Commander, Joint Base San Antonio, hosted the celebration that also featured static aviation displays including a variety of rotary wing aircraft provided by the Texas Air National Guard. Guest speaker for the event was retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Dave Petersen, interim president and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.

The first Army aircraft made its first flight March 2, 1910, at Fort Sam Houston with Lt. Benjamin Foulois at the controls. Foulois piloted the Army's first aircraft, Signal Corps Aircraft No. 1, with his first flight lasting only 7 1/2 minutes. He made three more flights that day and on his fourth attempt, the young pilot ended up crashing the airplane.