Military community shares memories of old Wilford Hall Medical Center as it gets demolished

Wilford Hall opened back in 1957

SAN ANTONIO – The military community is saying goodbye to the old Wilford Hall Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland.

“We are all kind of sad to see it going, because when you are in the military everyone knows what Wilford Hall is,” Frank Wilson, a project engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said.

Wilson is part of the team working on a project since 2010.

“Phases one through three built the new ambulatory surgical center and this is phase four, which is actually the demolishing of the old Wilford Hall,” Wilson said.

The new Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center was complete in 2017 and is right next to the old one.

Wilson has a special connection to the Wilford Hall Medical Center.

“When I was in the military, I was seen here and also my son was born here in 2010. So he is still like dad, I can’t believe they are tearing down the place where I was born,” Wilson said.

Wilford Hall opened in 1957.

“It’s named Wilford Hall after Maj. Gen. Dr. Wilford Hall, who was a pioneer in aeromedical evacuation and that is a core competency for the Air Force medical service,” Maj. Gen. Thomas Harrell, 59th Medical Wing Commander said.

It became a hub for research and innovation.

“Ken Cooper was a flight surgeon here and studied aerobic conditioning, and while he was a flight surgeon here and working with the lab across town at the former Brooks Air Force Base in preparation for further aeromedical research that ultimately supported NASA and the NASA Mercury program from here,” Maj. Gen. Harrell said.

Millions of people were treated at the facility.

“You can name any number of four stars in the military that have been treated in this facility,” Maj. Gen. Harrell said.

As the community says farewell to the old Wilford Hall, the military is looking forward to the future.

“The reason this is an important day for the future is that it allows an opportunity to innovate and grow into this space,” Maj. Gen. Harrell said.

The demolition is set to be completed by the end of next week and the team is looking at different options for the space.

About the Authors

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.

Azian Bermea is a photojournalist at KSAT.

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