Since its inception in 1917, Brooks Field (later Brooks Air Force Base) in San Antonio, Texas, has been a focal point of military innovation. Pioneers of early aviation, including Charles Lindbergh, earned their wings at Brooks, and military leaders, like Lieutenant General Claire Chennault, commander of the famed WWII “Flying Tigers,” served as flight instructors at Brooks. Life-saving techniques, such as instrument flying, where pilots rely on cockpit instruments rather than their own senses, were developed at Brooks. Later, the breakthroughs that took place at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine contributed greatly to our nation’s space program: the development of high altitude pressure suits, aeromedical research supporting the Mercury Program, advances in protective eyewear, and methods to counter weightlessness employed during Space Shuttle extravehicular activities. The creativity of other scientists at Brooks resulted in revolutionary discoveries, such as Dr. Raymond Damadian’s experiments in x-ray technology that led him to invent the world’s first MRI medical scanner.
The technology-based Air Force missions at Brooks proved to be an attraction for academia, industry and other government agencies. A “City-Base” concept that benefited both the Air Force and the San Antonio community seemed a natural evolution for the base.
In 2000, Congress enacted Public Law 106-246, authorizing the creation of Brooks City-Base, a collaboration between the Air Force and San Antonio to improve Air Force mission effectiveness and reduce the cost of providing quality installation support at Brooks. The resulting partnership also encouraged and enhanced future development in southeast San Antonio.
The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decision relocated Air Force missions to other installations and brought to an end 95 years of active military operations at Brooks. In September of 2011 a new era of innovation began at Brooks City-Base as the Air Force officially left the development. For the first time in more than 95 years, Brooks City-Base became an open campus as part of that transition.
Today, Brooks City-Base represents a master planned community offering affordable housing and more than 1,200 acres of real estate for mixed-use development, including up to 400,000 square feet of available space for office, light industrial and retail opportunities. As the owner and developer, the Brooks Development Authority offers a variety of creative financial assistance programs to encourage business attraction and expansion.