LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
The last of three remaining remnants from Lackland's World War II-era housing facilities, a military open-bay barracks, was moved Feb. 27 to a site behind the History and Traditions Museum.
The only basic military training dormitory left from the 1940s, Bldg. 6351 was loaded by crane onto a flatbed trailer and relocated behind the museum. It will become a part of the museum's enlisted heritage exhibits following renovation and restoration.
The building was moved from the construction area for a new BMT Airman Training Complex, the first of eight complexes and four dining-classroom facilities being built to replace the current recruit housing and training buildings. Two other remaining open-bay barracks in the construction area were torn down.
Tracy English, 37th Training Wing historian, said when restoration of the barracks is complete, returning Airmen who lived in those facilities will recall their Lackland training days.
"You're going to step back in time," said Mr. English about restoration plans. "If you came here in the 1950s, '60s or '70s and lived in one of these two-story dorms, you'll recognize it when you walk in.
"At least one side will be renovated like it was in the '60s with beds and we'll have (uniformed) mannequins in various positions (to simulate) making up a bed."
Interactive displays are also being considered, which Mr. English said would give returning Airmen an opportunity to reclaim some past victories on how fast they can make a bed with military corners.
"It would definitely be a treat for them (to come back and relive the past)," he said. "We are always impressed and interested to hear their stories about when they were here."
Originally built in 1942, Bldg. 6351 could house a flight of about 40 Airmen on each floor. After the building ceased being a dormitory in the early 1980s, Mr. English said the drum and bugle corps used Bldg. 6351 for several years before it was turned over to the museum.
He said some renovations on the barracks could be done right away but completing the makeover might last 18 months. Officials plan to restore and use only the first floor.
Mr. English said he would approach private organizations on base interested in helping with the renovations.
"We want to put together small or weekend projects that a group can accomplish in a set amount of time," he said.
The initial task is improving the building's exterior, followed by interior projects that include removing existing carpet, refinishing floors, repainting with 1960s color schemes and adding window tint to prevent exhibit damage by ultraviolet rays.
Persons or organizations interested in assisting with the barracks renovation can contact Mr. English at the 37th TRW Office of History and Research, Bldg. 7065, or call 671-2217.