Military plane crash causes some concern for JBSA-Randolph neighbors

T-6A Texan II crashed Tuesday near Rolling Oaks Mall

SAN ANTONIO – For more than 30 years, Jose Ramirez and his wife have lived in Universal City within a few hundred yards and in earshot of Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.

"It's the sound of freedom to me," the U.S. Air Force veteran said Wednesday.

While Tuesday's crash of an Air Force trainer plane near Rolling Oaks Mall was a reminder of the inherent dangers of military aviation, it also happened a few miles away from JBSA-Randolph and the residents of Universal City, Schertz and Converse who deal day in and day out with the constant flights.

But Ramirez is not worried about the possibility of aviation accidents, and Tuesday's crash hasn't changed that.

"I've had people in a car crash right here at this corner. It's the same thing," he said.

Similarly, Schertz Mayor Michael Carpenter is not any more worried than he was before.

"They actually fly over my house rather frequently, and my concern level is rather low," Carpenter said in a phone interview.

Schertz limits development on the southern edge of the base in the "accident potential zones," Carpenter said.

APZs, as they are known, extend outward from the end of each runway and indicate where an accident is most likely to occur. Tuesday's accident did not occur in any of the four APZs at JBSA-Randolph.

"It's just to make sure as few people as possible are potentially in harm's way," Carpenter said of the development restrictions.

Ramirez and other Universal City residents appeared to live near the edge of one of the Randolph APZs, if not in it.

While Ramirez appeared blasé about the risk, others in the neighborhood said the possibility of a plane crash does worry them.

"Sometimes we don't know if it's going to fall down over here on our house," Rosario Galvan said.

"I think, 'Oh my God, that could have happened here in my backyard,'" Irene Hernandez said. "You just pray to God that never happens, but life happens."

T-6A Texan II flight operations remained on hold Wednesday at JBSA-Randolph. Col. Mark S. Robinson, the commander of the 12th Flying Training Wing, said it appeared the crashed aircraft "experienced engine failure on final approach at low altitude, configured for landing before our airmen ejected."

The two crew members, Lt. Col. Lee Glen and 1st Lt. Nicholas Donato, were treated and released from the on-base clinic Tuesday night.

According to a news release, the Air Force has averaged about 30,000 annual sorties from JBSA-Randolph. 

The 12th Flying Training Group received an Air Force safety award in 2017.

About the Author: