Warbirds Memorial Park: Lackland AFB in San Antonio

Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio Texas is the starting point of a future Enlisted Airmen attending Air Force Basic Military Training. But Lackland AFB is also home to a magnificent outdoor museum of Air Force war-fighting aircraft from every era of U.S. military history called Warbirds Memorial Park.

These magnificent jet fighters, also coined Warbirds or War Birds are put on static display in the heart of San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base. These fighter jets were used to unleash their destruction and wrath upon our Nation’s enemies from past wars and conflicts.

Warbirds Memorial Park: Lackland Air Force Base

When we were parked at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas in early 2017, we caught up with our RV buds, Tim and Emily from OwnLessDoMore for a couple weeks. While there, Emily and I took a power walk over to the War Birds Park so she could show me some cool airplanes at Warbirds Memorial Park.

Warbirds Memorial Park walkway circled around the ceremonial parade field. On the outer parameter of the parade field is an amazing collection of original Warbirds of past wars and conflicts.

This incredible static display of warfighter jets and aircraft gives visitors of all ages an up-close-and-personal look at these incredible aircraft that credits our Air Force’s fighting success.

Visitors can touch the planes and feel their vibrant spirits from war’s past. While they’re awesome to look at and cool to touch, these special Warbirds are not for climbing on.

Lackland AFB Warbirds Park

 

 

SR-71 Blackbird

One of my favorites is the SR-71 Blackbird. Like all of the Air Force aircraft exhibits, the Blackbird is larger than I thought. Visitors can walk completely around and touch the Blackbird’s fuselage. Truly, the Blackbird is one of those you gotta see it to believe it static displays.

The SR-71 first flew in December 1964 and retired by NASA in 1999. For over 30 years, the Blackbird spy plane flew over Mach 3 speeds; the fastest plane that could outfly any missile. This Warbird ranged 3682 miles without fueling.

To put that into perspective, New York City to San Francisco spans only 2572 miles.

The information below is from http://www.sr-71.org/  

 
SR-71 Specifications
Manufacturer:Lockheed Aircraft Corporation
Length:107′ 5″
Length of Nose Probe:4′ 11″
Wing Span:55′ 7″
Wing Area:1,795 ft. sq.
Wing Aspect Ratio:1.939
Wing Root Chord:60.533
Wing Dihedral Angle:0 degrees
Wing Chord:0.00
Wing Sweep:52.629 degrees
Inboard Elevon Area:39.00 ft. sq.
Outboard Elevon Area:52.50 ft. sq.
Total Vertical Rudder Area:150.76 ft. sq.
Moveable Rudder Area:70.24 ft. sq.
Rudder Root Chord:14.803 ft.
Rudder Tip Chord:7.833 ft.
Height:18′ 6″
Empty Weight:59,000 lbs.
Maximum Weight:170,000 lbs.
Fuselage Diameter:5.33 ft.
Service Ceiling:85,000’+
Maximum Speed:Mach 3.3+ (Limit CIT of 427 degrees C)
Cruising Speed:Mach 3.2
Engines:2 Pratt & Whittney J-58 (JT11D-20A) with 34,000 lbs. of thrust.
Range:3,200 nautical miles (without refueling)
 

Other Warbirds

Each of the aircraft are provided with a placard tells their historic significance to their warfighting efforts.

 
P-47N
 
 

History of Military Aircraft Nose Art

Nostalgic military aircraft nose art began for practical reasons of identifying friendly military units. What started as simple creativity evolved to express the individuality often constrained by the uniformity of the military, to evoke memories of home and peacetime life, and as a kind of psychological protection against the stresses of war and the probability of death.

Aircraft nose art was a morale keeper for the Troops.

Warbirds Pinup

Warbirds Joltin' Josie Pinup

Warbirds - The Blasted Event

Warbirds - Pinup Nose

Warbirds Park - Lackland AFB

Air Force Military Training Instructor’s Building

On the opposite side of the ceremonial parade grounds visitors viewing area (bleachers) is the Air Force Military Training Instructors (MTI’s) Building.

 
 

Other Force Exhibits and Military Displays

Medal of Honor Memorial

One of the most notable and heartstring-pulling exhibits is the Medal of Honor Memorial that lists all the Air Force Medal of Honor Recipients

Lackland AFB Medal of Honor Memorial

Military Working Dog Memorial

2434 Larson St, San Antonio, TX 78236

At the opposite end of the parade field and on the War Bird Park is a newer memorial dedicated to our Nation’s Military Working K-9’s in 2009.

The Military Working Dog Teams National Monument is a monument to military working dogs located at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio, Texas

 


While we have visited many military memorials nationwide, including several in Washington D.C., the Military Working Dog Memorial was very moving.

Perhaps it’s our love for animals but mostly it’s because of our appreciation of these war dogs that were stationed with our son’s Cavalry units in Iraq and Afghanistan had their own war dogs.

Since we connected on a personal level, seeing this memorial brought tears to our eyes because these brave Military K-9s serve and sacrifice alongside our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen in war and peacetime.

The back of the memorial wall is a beautifully etched mural of military working dogs  from all five branches of the military.

The Military Dog Handler’s helmet gets filled daily with coin donations from visitors.

 

For more information check out Honoring Our Military Working Dogs

An Enlisted Story

Chief Master SGT William Petrie

There are several notable ‘…an enlisted story’ brass placards placed between applicable Warbirds. They highlight an Enlisted Airmen of the Air Force for their bravery and gallantry during their service.

Since Lackland AFB is home to the Air Force’s Basic Military Training facility, it’s only fitting to have their stories told here for our newest Air Force Enlisted Airmen to be inspired and serve proudly.

Wrapping up

We hope you enjoyed getting a small glimpse of this amazing display of Air Force Warbirds. The collection is much more extensive with other War Birds that you’ll just have to come see for yourself.

If you’re a military historian or military history enthusiast, we highly recommend visiting this fabulous display of military aircraft.

But what’s great is it’s not just a military outdoor museum. It’s also a wonderful place to walk, run or meditate. There’s just something amongst these Warbirds that sends a peaceful message ‘we’re watching over you’.

Lastly, if you’re in San Antonio and have military base access (military or DOD ID), you attend the youngest generation of over 700 Airmen graduate from Air Force Basic Military Training

For those who would like to visit these Memorials and the Warbirds Memorial Park at JBSA – Lackland

To visit Warbirds Memorial Park or any of the monuments, any Military and DoD ID card holder can visit the museum and airpark at any time.

All other US citizens with a valid state or government issued ID (such as a current driver’s license) can visit the museum during hours of operation.

The East Luke Visitor Control Center can issue a pass to visit the museum after all members of your party have been vetted and cleared through the system. ONLY the East Luke Visitor Center can issue passes to the museum.

While you’re visiting San Antonio

Visit the Alamo: San Antonio, Texas

7 Friendliest Places to Visit in Texas Hill Country

First Time Visitor’s Guide to Fredericksburg, Texas

The Great Camel Experiment: Camp Verde, Texas

 

 

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