It was a hot and humid day on June 4th but that didn’t stop the class of LSA 39 from enjoying a behind the scenes glimpse into one of the largest military bases in the country. Spending their day at Joint Base San Antonio-Ft. Sam Houston, the class was able to explore the historic base in a way no other class has.

Beginning with a look back, class members spent the morning touring the Quadrangle, the original footprint of the base, where members were briefed by Mr. Robert Naething, on demographics for the base as well as the various missions and partners that Ft. Sam engages with on a daily basis.

In this briefing, class members learned that Ft. Sam Houston is the 9th oldest Army Installation in the country and is the birthplace of military aviation.  With nearly 100 organizations on post, Ft. Sam also provides 8000 jobs in San Antonio, of those 4000 jobs were recently added.  Joint Base San Antonio-Ft. Sam Houston currently has 13 unique commands with three of them being three-star commands including Army North (Fifth Army), Army Medical Command (MEDCOM), and Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM).  With an overall population of nearly 65,000 people, Joint Base San Antonio is one of the largest employers in the city providing services to 66,000 family members and 107,000 retirees totaling almost 240,000 persons either within the military, related to, or retired from the military.

In one of the more memorable moments of the day, class members climbed the famous clock tower in the Quadrangle to catch a view of the city.  A standing monument in history, this clock tower encapsulates the names of many soldiers with markings made as far back as the early 1900s. 

Following this early morning work-out State Representative Jose Menendez spoke to the class about the importance of the military in our country and local community as well as the various efforts at a state-wide level to provide additional resources for military and their families. Of particular note, Representative Menendez emphasized the need for more employers to hire our military who are transitioning from military to civilian life. 

Following this briefing, class members made their way to the military medical centers on base, specifically to the Army Institute of Surgical Research.  Led by Majors Robert Carter, III and Stuart D. Tyner, class members received information on the various research programs being conducted at the institute including their Battlefield Health & Trauma program, Wound Flow program, and their CRI Device program.

It is within the walls of Brooks Army Medical Center and San Antonio Medical Center that class members could see how the latest technologies are being used to help save our men and women on the field.  Additional briefings were provided by Maria Serio-Melvin, Gary Munoz, and Carmen Hinojosa-Laborde.

The class then moved to the Mission Training Complex (MTC) where class members got to have a little fun participating in simulation training.  While at the MTC, members participated in various combat simulation programs including one that was computerized in a gaming style mode, followed by another encompassing the use of actual weaponry and combat packs.  Needless to say every class member was able to get a small taste of what our military experience on the battlefield.

Class members closed the day out at the popular VFW Post 76, where they were welcome by Commander Albert Mireles.  Commander Mireles spoke to the class about the mission of the post and the various community programs they have available including those assisting youth interested in military service and special events for veterans in the community.

Ending the day with inspiring words of leadership, the class was fortunate to hear General Edward Rice (Ret.) speak on qualities of a leader.  Known for his strong leadership over his exemplary career, Rice emphasized the importance of evaluating not only those qualities each of us individually see as important but surveying those within our office and network. Additionally, he highlighted the importance of mentorship in order to continue to foster strong leadership.

But no military day could be complete without a Challenge Coin ceremony, a tradition started more than 50 years ago, which has a long-standing tradition of symbolizing pride and unity in a military unit. With this tradition, coins are designed with a unique unit symbol or motto that identifies the group carrying the coin. They are then traded, presented, and collected among unit members capturing the essence of military affiliation and instilling pride to those that carry the coin. 

Today, the Challenge Coin tradition is utilized by both military and civilians including the Presidents of the United States; Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama have each minted their individual Challenge Coin.  The Military & Technology Team for LSA 39 created a Challenge Coin with the logo, “Operation Leadership” and the motto, “Leadership* Respect*Opportunity” and exchanged it with the class.

The members of LSA class 39 are grouped into committees responsible for developing agendas for each of the eight class days throughout the calendar year. The agenda for this month’s Military Day was developed by class members:

The committee was also assisted by steering committee members:

LSA is a joint partnership of The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Click here for more information or email Priscilla Camacho.