Base Insider

Randolph Air Force Base in Universal City, TX

Randolph Air Force Base: A Hub of Military Excellence

Nestled in the heart of Universal City, Texas, Randolph Air Force Base stands tall as a pillar of military strength and training. With its rich history and impressive facilities, Randolph Air Force Base continues to play a vital role in the United States Air Force.

Location and Facilities

  • Situated in Universal City, Texas, Randolph Air Force Base covers an expansive area of 3,382 acres.
  • The base is home to the 502d Air Base Wing, which provides support services and resources to promote readiness for Air Education and Training Command (AETC) missions.
  • The airfield at Randolph Air Force Base spans over 1,600 acres, housing a wide range of aircraft, including the T-6 Texan II, T-38 Talon, and T-1 Jayhawk.
  • The base also boasts state-of-the-art training facilities, including classrooms, simulators, and aviation training devices, ensuring excellence in aircrew and mission support training.

Mission and Training

  • Randolph Air Force Base has a primary focus on pilot training, making it the premier location for initial flight training for Air Force pilots, combat systems officers, and remotely piloted aircraft operators.
  • The base is also responsible for training and developing air traffic controllers, intelligence officers, and airmen in various support functions.
  • In addition, Randolph Air Force Base hosts specialized training programs for international students, fostering multinational cooperation and enhancing global military partnerships.

Community and Support Services

  • The community at Randolph Air Force Base offers a wide variety of support services for military personnel and their families, including healthcare facilities, childcare centers, schools, shopping centers, and recreational areas.
  • The base provides exceptional quality of life programs and support for military families, recognizing the vital role they play in the overall readiness and success of personnel.


Establishment and Early Years

  • Randolph Air Force Base has a rich history that dates back to its establishment in 1928, when it was known as the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center.
  • Initially used for primary flight training during World War II, the base quickly grew in importance and scale, becoming instrumental in training the rapidly expanding Air Force.
  • In 1931, the base was renamed Randolph Field in honor of Captain William Millican Randolph, a World War I flying ace.
  • During the early years, Randolph Field witnessed significant advancements in flight training techniques, including the development of instrument flying and aerial combat tactics.

Expansion and Modernization

  • As the United States entered the jet age, Randolph Air Force Base underwent substantial expansion and modernization.
  • In 1957, the base became the headquarters for the Air Training Command, further solidifying its role as a crucial hub for pilot training.
  • Over the years, the base has witnessed the introduction of innovative training programs and technologies, ensuring the highest standards of education and proficiency for Air Force personnel.

Notable Milestones

  • Randolph Air Force Base made history in 1973, when Lieutenant Colonel Edith E. Bulkley became the first woman to fly a military jet aircraft.
  • The base has also been the training ground for astronauts, with several astronauts, including Alan Bean and David Scott, receiving their initial flight training at Randolph Air Force Base.
  • In 2010, Randolph Air Force Base was formally recognized as a Texas Historical Civil Engineering Landmark, highlighting its significant contributions to military aviation and engineering.


At the heart of Randolph Air Force Base lies a steadfast commitment to its mission – training and developing the next generation of Air Force leaders.

With a focus on pilot training and support functions, the base plays a vital role in ensuring the readiness and success of the United States Air Force.

Pilot Training

Randolph Air Force Base occupies a special place in the world of aviation as the premier location for initial flight training for Air Force pilots. The base is home to the 12th Flying Training Wing, responsible for providing a comprehensive training pipeline for student pilots.

The four stages of pilot training at Randolph Air Force Base are:

  1. Initial Flight Training (IFT): This stage focuses on preparing future pilots for the challenges of flying. Student pilots learn the basics of aviation, including aircraft systems, aerodynamics, and navigation. The T-6 Texan II is the primary training aircraft used during this phase.
  2. Primary Flight Training (PFT): Once students successfully complete IFT, they move on to PFT. At this stage, they become familiar with handling and flying the T-6 Texan II. They learn basic flying skill sets, such as takeoffs, landings, navigations, and emergency procedures.
  3. Track Select Phase: Following PFT, students are selected for specific tracks based on their aptitude and interests. These tracks include fighters, bombers, airlift and tanker, special operations, and remotely piloted aircraft.
  4. Advanced Flight Training: This final phase of training prepares students for the operational challenges they will face in their respective career tracks. Students receive advanced instruction on aircraft systems, tactics, and mission operations. The T-38 Talon and T-1 Jayhawk aircraft are utilized during this phase to ensure students are fully equipped for their operational assignments.

Support Functions Training

While pilot training is a key focus at Randolph Air Force Base, the base is also responsible for training and developing airmen in various support functions. This includes air traffic controllers, intelligence officers, and other critical roles necessary to enable successful military operations. These support functions ensure the highest level of operational efficiency in the Air Force.

Air Traffic Control Training

As the skies become increasingly crowded, the need for skilled air traffic controllers becomes paramount. Randolph Air Force Base provides rigorous training for these airmen, teaching them how to safely manage airspace, communicate with pilots, and coordinate movements across the airfield.

Intelligence Training

The base also offers comprehensive intelligence training that equips airmen with the knowledge and skills necessary to gather, analyze, and disseminate vital intelligence information. This training enables them to support military operations, including planning, targeting, and decision-making processes.

Specialized Training Programs

Randolph Air Force Base goes beyond national borders, hosting specialized training programs for international students. This initiative fosters multinational cooperation and strengthens global military partnerships, promoting strategic alliances with partner nations. These programs provide foreign militaries with the opportunity to train side by side with their American counterparts, enhancing interoperability and mutual understanding.

Through these programs, Randolph Air Force Base supports the United States’ commitment to global peace and stability. It nurtures relationships that extend beyond borders and establishes strong bonds among nations, reinforcing the importance of collaborative efforts in tackling complex security challenges.


Randolph Air Force Base, situated in Universal City, Texas, holds a prominent position in the United States Air Force. With a primary focus on pilot training and support functions, the base plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of the Air Force.

Through rigorous training programs, state-of-the-art facilities, and an unwavering commitment to excellence, Randolph Air Force Base ensures that airmen are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to carry out their missions successfully. As a member of the Randolph Air Force Base community, each individual contributes to maintaining the readiness and strength of the Air Force.

By upholding the base’s mission and values, future generations of airmen will continue to uphold the legacy established by those who came before them. Randolph Air Force Base remains a beacon of military excellence, fostering a sense of pride and camaraderie among its personnel and serving as a testament to the dedication and resilience of the United States Air Force.

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