Strategic Air Command
SAC Bases:  Bergstrom Air Force Base
Location: Texas
Home of: 340th Bomb Wing,  4130th Strategic Wing
Status:  Now the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
    The Air Force-Austin partnership began in 1942 when Austin purchased land for the Del Valle Army Air Base. Before giving the land to the federal government, the city stipulated that should the military vacate the property, the property could revert to the city. In 1948, Lyndon B. Johnson, then a US representative from Texas, petitioned Congress to rename the installation for Capt. John Austin Earl Bergstrom, the first native of Austin to die in World War II. In the 1950s the Strategic Air Command based the 12th Strategic Fighter Wing and the 27th Fighter Escort Wing at Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas. These units provided fighter escort, air defense for SAC bomber forces from 1950 through 1957. In l950, the 524th fighter escort squadron flying the F-84 went to Taegu Air Base, Korea, where they served in combat until moving to Bergstrom AFB, Texas, in mid l95l. In l953, the unit was redesignated as the 524th Strategic Fighter Squadron and then the 524th Fighter Bomber Squadron in l957. That same year F-101s replaced the F-84s and the unit was redesignated the 524th Tactical Fighter Squadron a year later. Subsequently, Tactical Air Command's Twelfth Air Force was headquartered at Bergstrom, as was the TAC 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing.
     Bergstrom was included on the 1991 list of military installations to close in 1993 by the base realignment and closure process.  Austin saw this as a solution to its major dilemma of how and where to replace the municipal airport. After years of complaints from local residents about noise pollution from low flying aircraft, the City of Austin decided to construct a new airport. As city officials continued their search for a new site for the airport, Bergstrom Air Force Base (AFB), located inside Austin city limits, was placed on the 1991 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list. The city quickly realized that Bergstrom AFB was the ideal location for Austin's new airport. Bergstrom AFB was placed on a very strict restoration schedule in order to open the airport within the time frame required by the city.
     The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport project is the largest construction project in Texas in 20 years. Cargo operations began at the airport in 1997, and have expanded to include two additional carriers. Dual runways allow for simultaneous takeoffs and landings. The old Bergstrom runway D, at 12,500 feet long, is named the Lyndon B. Johnson Memorial Runway. Johnson landed on this runway when he visited his home in Texas and considered Bergstrom his home base. The second and shorter 9000-feet runway is dedicated to former U.S. representative from Texas, J. J. "Jake" Pickle. Pickle insisted that the new airport have two runways running separate and parallel. The new terminal building memorializes former U.S. representative from Texas Barbara Jordan. Anticipated growth in the local area prompted the city to expand the number of terminal gates to 25, with the capacity to expand to 55. Austin expects to have 16,000 new jobs associated with the airport by 2012 and more than 725,000 square feet of new development drawn to the surrounding area.