Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Anchors Aweigh, Y'all

San Antonio has a long and proud history of association with the military. In fact, San Antonio's nickname is "Military City USA."
From the early days of the Spanish exploration of the West to providing the cutting edge in battlefield health care training, the history of San Antonio is closely linked to military history.  The Presidio de Bexar served as the seat of government and headquarters of military power in Colonial Texas, and became the focal point of the battle for independence from Mexico through the historic Battle of the Alamo.  A strategic center during the epic wars between Native Americans and the U.S. Calvary, the military presence in San Antonio is unbroken for nearly 300 years.  Occupied by Conquistadors, Texas Rangers, Confederate and Union troops, and serving as the recruiting and training grounds for Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, San Antonio’s military history is a colorful as its many fiestas and festivals.  The first military airplane flew at Ft. Sam Houston, Eddie Rickenbacker learned how to fly at Brooks Field in World War I, and the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo Astronauts were trained for the rigors of space flight at Brooks Air Force Base.  From Korea to Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm to Operation Iraqi Freedom, San Antonio has trained, equipped, and cared for America’s fighting men and women as they defend our way of life.
My father retired from the Air Force at Randolph AFB. I spent some time TDY at Fort Sam Houston. Lackland AFB is where young men and women receive their Air Force basic training (such as it is...). There are several other military installations in and around San Antonio.

Recently, the military consolidated its medical training program for all the service branches at Ft. Sam. This introduced Marines and Navy personnel to the area. One consequence of this is that we now have another excuse to party - Navy Week.

Of course, being a landlocked city and somewhat unfamiliar to this whole Navy thing, we needed a little elementary education.
The Navy is the branch of the U.S. military that fights on the water in ships, under the water in submarines, and over the water in planes that take off and land on Navy aircraft carriers.

Think of the 70-80-90 rule:

Water covers about 70 percent of the Earth's surface.

About 80 percent of the world's population lives near the ocean.

About 90 percent of all international trade travels by sea.

What happens on the water is critical to American security, the preservation of American jobs, and peace worldwide. Most fundamental, it's important to our national defense. After all, the United States is bounded by oceans on both sides.
I knew about the ships, subs, and carriers. I didn't know about the 70-80-90 rule. Like I tell the kids, any day you don't learn something new is a wasted day.
With the opening of Medical Education & Training Campus, along with Master at Arms training at Lackland AFB, the Navy's two largest enlisted rates receive their training in San Antonio. And dozens of sailors and Marines have recovered from war-wounds at BAMC and the Center for the Intrepid. This is a Navy town.

As San Antonio hosts Navy Week from Oct. 24 to 28, and sailors come to the city to share their stories, remember the importance of a fast, flexible force — provided by sea power and the U.S. Navy. In this way, the Navy protects America more than ever.
San Antonians appreciate the military. We also love to party. (Check out Fiesta San Antonio - our version of Mardi Gras. The kids even get out of school for the Battle of Flowers Parade.). So bring Navy Week on.

This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship...


Old NFO said...

"About 90 percent of all international trade travels by sea." That's what is called a Sea Line Of Communication (SLOC) and the Navy DOES protect them... :-) I flew MANY hours of MAP tracks over SLOCs in addition to ASW flights... And the Navy/Marine folks will put the AF to shame with their training scores :-)

CenTexTim said...

MAPs ... SLOCs ... ASW ... gotta love the military's love of acronyms.

My father was in the Army in WWII (a combat engineer with Patton's 3rd Army). After the war when the AF was spun off as a separate branch of the service he transferred over. He always snorted when talking about AF basic - called it a country club ... :-)