An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : News
NEWS | Nov. 12, 2014

DAR's contributions to JBSA-Randolph span base's history

By Robert Goetz Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

An awards ceremony that honored four of the 12th Flying Training Wing's finest instructor pilots last week continued a tradition at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph that started nearly 60 years ago.

However, the organization that has supported the 12th FTW's education mission since 1958 with its Texas Armed Services Award left an imprint still visible here long before that.

The Daughters of the American Revolution's contributions to JBSA-Randolph date back to 1932, Col. Matthew Isler, 12th FTW commander, said during the awards ceremony Nov. 5 at the Parr Club. Back then, the JBSA location was a fledgling Army Air Corps facility known as Randolph Field.

"If you look around the base, probably the primary characteristic are the trees," he said. "But back in 1930, when you look at the pictures, there wasn't a tree around."

The farmland that had been transformed into Randolph Field changed quickly thanks to the San Antonio de Bexar Chapter of the DAR.

"In 1932, the Daughters of the American Revolution came out and said, 'Let's fix that,' and they put 104 of these live oaks down the main drags and they're still here today," Isler said. "They increased that to 120 total, and we're doing some important work to keep those healthy and a vibrant part of our community."

The San Antonio de Bexar Chapter donated the training facility's first trees to commemorate the 200th anniversary of George Washington's birth, according to "Tour of Historic Randolph," published by Headquarters Air Education and Training Command Office of History and Research in 1995. The trees line the North Circle area, including the Taj Mahal, Military Plaza and South Park.

That gift was just the beginning of "a long partnership that's grown throughout the years," Isler said.

The Texas Society of the DAR continued the organization's commitment to JBSA-Randolph and other military installations when it instituted the Texas Armed Services Award, which initially honored Randolph's Instructor Pilot of the Year.

"The Daughters of the American Revolution are dedicated to promoting patriotism," Susan Tillman, Texas Society DAR recording secretary, said. "One of the many ways Texas DAR members do this is by recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of active military members serving on Texas military bases. The idea of presenting an award at Randolph was adopted by Texas DAR members at their state conference in 1958 with the first award being presented to the outstanding instructor pilot that same year."

In 1992, Randolph recognized the contributions of the DAR by planting and dedicating a young live oak tree to the organization on the south lawn of Chapel I as part of an Earth Day ceremony.

The next year, the DAR expanded their awards to include the outstanding instructor navigator, the outstanding student pilot and the outstanding student navigator, according to the 12th FTW history office. Last year, the DAR accepted and approved the renaming of the awards in the student categories for the remotely piloted aircraft instructor of the year and the non-powered flight instructor of the year.

At this year's ceremony, Isler, who assumed command of the 12th FTW in June, emphasized the wing's mission.

"Everything we do in the wing is about instruction," he said.

Isler, who was honored by the DAR as outstanding instructor pilot 22 years ago, then presented his organization's awards. Recipients were Capt. Jeffrey Nelson, 435th Fighter Training Squadron, Instructor Pilot of the Year; Capt. David Habben, 451st Flying Training Squadron, Instructor Combat System Officer of the Year; Staff Sgt. Mitchell, 558th Flying Training Squadron, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Instructor of the Year; and Capt. Leonard Spigiel II, 306th Flying Training Group, Non-Powered Flight Instructor of the Year.

Tillman, who represented the Texas Society of the DAR during the ceremony, described the national organization's mission, calling it a "volunteer women's service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history and securing America's future through better education for children.

"As descendants of the founders of this country, we are proud to continue our longstanding support of a strong national defense," she said.

Tillman also extended the Texas Society's gratitude to the award recipients.

"We are honored to present the Texas Armed Services Awards to the outstanding instructors of the year," she said. "We offer our salute and our deepest gratitude to each of you for your faithfulness and service."