JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — Officials at Air Education Training Command honored a retired general earlier this month.
Officers named building 905 “Wilson Hall,” then unveiled a plaque bearing the name and image of former U.S. Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, retired Gen. Stephen Wilson, during a building dedication ceremony April 9 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.
“General Wilson developed and sustained initiatives to protect airmen and families. He pioneered agile combat employment for us to remain flexible while building multi-capable Airmen for future wars,” said Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, AETC commander. “This dedication event encapsulates a legacy of innovation that is the story of Randolph Air Force Base, Air Training Command, Air Education and Training Command and now Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph. Today, we’ve enshrined Gen. Wilson on Randolph’s halls of honor.”
Webb also recognized the history and legacy across JBSA-Randolph, including the Lahm Conference Center named for Brig. Gen. Frank Lahm, Randolph’s first commander in 1920; Arnold House named for General Henry “Hap” Arnold, who accelerated technology development and encouraged the development of the B-17 and B-24; Pitsenbarger Hall named for Airman 1st Class William Pitsenbarger, a Medal of Honor recipient and pararescueman who completed 250 rescue missions and took up arms to protect infantrymen until he was fatally shot; and the Parr Club named for Col. Ralph Parr, an American double-flying ace of the Korean War, who was credited with 10 downed enemy aircraft and the only American pilot to receive both the Distinguished Service Cross and the Air Force Cross.
“This event is a continuing tradition of visionary airmen immortalized by the First Command,” Webb said.
Wilson’s career began in AETC as a student pilot at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, followed by an assignment as a T-38 first assignment instructor pilot there. He also served in the command twice more as 14th Flying Training Wing commander at Columbus AFB, Mississippi, and as deputy director of Air, Space and Information Operations Directorate at Headquarters AETC.
“I spent nearly 40 years in the Air Force and this is a big honor for me, Nancy and the Wilson family to be associated with AETC,” Wilson asid. “A little known fact is I was probably one of the longest service FAIPs in AETC. We had a wonderful time in AETC both as a FAIP (First Assignment Instructor Pilot) and in command.”
His final assignment was as the longest-serving in the second-highest-ranking officer position in the United States Air Force, retiring in 2020.
“As leaders, there is no more sacred duty than to prepare the next generation of airmen for combat, it was our solemn obligation,” he said. “No one takes on that mission more to heart than the thousands of men and women who work here at AETC. They wake up with that singular purpose, to take America’s sons and daughters and develop them into world-class airmen who can fly, fight, and win, who can deliver airpower anywhere, at any time.”
During his time as VCSAF, Wilson was the catalyst behind the Air Force’s AFWERX program and Spark Tank competition, and his push for innovation created a lasting legacy.
Wilson received his commission from Texas A&M University in 1981. His assignments included multiple flying tours, and he led bomber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, mobility, aeromedical evacuation and airborne command and control operations supporting operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.
The facility was originally used as the center for all flying training activities, supporting the needs of the Army Air Corps aviation campus.
Today, the newly named Wilson Hall houses administrative and conference spaces to include the Frank Lahm Conference Center, history, plans, programs and requirements and public affairs offices.