The host unit is the 311th Human Systems Wing, which includes staff agencies and a mission support group. Its director is Eric L. Stephens. Its vice-director is Jaime E. Hurley, and the command chief is Chief Master Sergeant Pat Battenberg.
The U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM) at Brooks is known internationally as the premier center for aerospace medical learning, consultation, and aircrew health assessment.
In 2002 Brooks AFB was renamed Brooks City-Base when the property was conveyed to the Brooks Development Authority as part of a unique project between local, state, and federal government. The Brooks Development Authority is the owner, operator, and developer of the Brooks City-Base property whose mission is to redevelop the property into a science, business, and technology center. The Air Force is currently the largest tenant at Brooks City-Base.
Previous names of Brooks City-Base were:
United States Air Force
United States Air Force
From its founding until 1919, Brooks Field was used to train cadets in the Curtiss JN-4 aircraft, which was used for balloon and airship training. The program was cancelled in 1922 when the U.S. Army re-evaluated the usefulness of balloons and airships.
After the cancellation of the airship training, Brooks Field became the Primary Flying School for the Army Air Corps. The Primary Flying School continued operation until 1931 when it moved to Randolph Field in San Antonio. After the Primary Flying School's departure, Brooks Field became the new home for the Aerial Observation Center.
During World War II, Brooks Field housed the School for Combat Observers and the Advanced Flying School (Observation). The program remained in operation until 1943 when it was disbanded. Training in the school then switched to twin-engine aircraft, subsequently training pilots to fly the new B-25 bomber.
After the war, Brooks Field became the home to several tactical and reserve units, and in 1948, Brooks Field formally became Brooks Air Force Base.
Since the early 1950s, Brooks AFB has been the home for the Aerospace Medical Center, which would include the School of Aerospace Medicine (SAM). In 1957, SAM scientists moved into the newly completed center at Brooks AFB. SAM aided the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with Project Mercury and served as a back-up site for lunar samples brought back to Earth on the Apollo missions between 1969-1972. The air evacuation program at Brooks AFB proved vital to the care of wounded personnel in the Vietnam War.
President John F. Kennedy dedicated the School of Aerospace Medicine on November 21, 1963, the day before he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. This was Kennedy's last official act as president.
After the Vietnam War, the base's mission narrowed to one centered on specific research related to U.S. Air Force fliers and personnel. In 1991, the Air Force was selected to house the Armstrong Laboratory, which included the Air Force Human Resources Laboratory, the Air Force Drug Testing Laboratory, the Harry G. Armstrong Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, the Air Force Occupational and Environmental Health Laboratory, and the laboratory functions of SAM.
In 2005, Brooks City-Base was once again placed on the BRAC list and is now in the process of planning for permanent military departure from the base. The Brooks Development Authority has demonstrated economic development success with projects including a 62 acre retail development, approximately of research and distribution facilities for DPT Laboratories, the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (an infectious disease research institute coordinated with the University of Texas at San Antonio), an international pharmaceutical company, and a $25.5 million City/County emergency operations center which will open in the Fall 2007.
Brooks Field Hangar 9 was restored in 1969 to become the U.S. Air Force Museum of Aerospace Medicine. This museum is to display the early history of Brooks Field and to preserve and display an extensive collection of photographs and equipment related to aviation and aerospace medicine.