Return to Randolph

Copyright © 2000-2010, Scott D. Murdock
3 Apr 2010 - Added additional photos, upgraded existing photos.

Friday, 9 Jun 2000

We hadn't been to San Antonio for about three years.  A friend's wedding gave us the nudge we needed to pack the car and head south. 

On the way down, we spent a few hours in Austin; walking around Town Lake (always fun, even in the rain), driving by our former homes, having lunch at Kerby Lane, and paying a quick visit to the former Bergstrom AFB (1370, BJHZ), 30-12, 97-40.   Boy was Bergstrom a surprise!  When I last made a drive-by inspection in 1996, there was much new construction taking place but the support area of the base still looked like it did in the 80s.  Not so today, it is thriving as Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)!  We made a loop from the main entrance to the terminal building and back, and could barely tell this used to be the base.  The only buildings we recognized were the former Tenth Air Force headquarters building (commonly called The Donut), and the former Education Center and NCO Academy buildings.  It was pouring rain, so we didn't leave the beaten path for any detailed investigation. 

Randolph AFB (1219, TYMX), 29-31-56, 98-16-47, on the other hand, still looks like it did a decade ago.  We had reservations at billeting and stayed in Visiting Airmen Quarters.  Familiar turf!  While Nancy unpacked, I headed out into Universal City in search of two former communications annexes. 

I had no trouble finding Randolph Communications Facility Annex No. 1 (a.k.a. Randolph Transmitter Annex) (1222, TYND), 29-33-22, 98-18-06.  Acquired in the mid 1950s, disposed of in the late 1970s, it is now an abandoned lot on the east side of Kitty Hawk Road.  The decaying access road still leads to the center of the site, where the foundation of the transmitter building is located.  The cableways in the foundation hint at its past use.  Four small antenna support bases were present, two in place and two excavated. 

Finding Randolph Communications Facility Annex No. 2 (a.k.a. Randolph Receiver Annex) (1223), was not so simple.  I believe it is now part of a larger municipal compound.  Hard to tell from the public roads, and no TerraServer imagery to consult at this time.  From a layout drawing, I estimate the location as 29-33-11, 98-17-56.

Saturday, 10 Jun 2000

A short drive to the east took us to the former Marion Helicopter Landing Annex (5361), 29-32-02, 98-08-51.  This 64 acre site was leased for Randolph AFB in 1957 and disposed of in 1958 -- quite a short career!  It has reverted to farmland.  (Note: this is a completely separate installation from Marion Auxiliary Field, 29-36-30, 98-07-45.) 

A piece of land outside the Randolph main gate and across the railroad tracks was the Civilian War Housing site, 29-32-48, 98-17-03.  I believe this to be a Lanham Act housing project, built in the early days of W.W.II.  Lanham housing typically consisted of small apartments or dormitories, and was built in great quantities across the country to house civilian defense workers.  Several Army Air Forces bases had similar facilities nearby (Barksdale, Moody, and McChord, for example).  I wanted to match up the extant buildings with those shown on a 1943 layout plan -- but the heavy rain dissuaded me.  Plus, the current building layout is quite different than the plan.  Later research showed the W.W.II housing was demolished before the property was disposed of.  Margin notes on Randolph AFB layout drawings indicate the property was acquired by the War Department for the National Housing Authority in 1943, and it was disposed of in 1954.

Sunday, 11 Jun 2000

On the drive home, we detoured to visit the active Canyon Lake Recreation Annex (0050, DAXG), 29-53-06, 98-12-54.  Adjacent to Corps of Engineers property, and across the road from an Army recreation area, it has a great location on the lake.  We may return to investigate further from the comfort of the furnished cabins!  This installation has served Randolph AFB since 1968.