Brooks Air Force Base - Hangar 9
- Also Known As: Edward H. White II Museum
- Address: Inner Circle Rd
- Vicinity: Brooks Air Force Base (closed)
Brooks Field, in San Antonio, Texas, was one of a number of U.S. Army airfields established during World War I to train Army pilots. Construction began at the site in December 1917, which was officially established as Brooks Field in February 1918.
Hangar 9 is the only surviving building of more than 60 constructed here during World War I. Many renowned airmen graduated from the Primary Flying School at Brooks Field during the 1920s, including Generals Nathan F. Twining, fourth chief of staff of the Air Force, 1953 to 1957, and first Air Force officer to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Curtis E. LeMay, chief of staff of the Air Force, 1961 to 1965; and Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh, who made the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight, New York to Paris, in 1927. Rapid demobilization followed World War I, and most of the Army's wartime airfields were abandoned. From 1919 until 1922, Brooks Field was the site of an Army Balloon and Airship School. In 1922, the Army Air Service consolidated primary flying training at Brooks Field, which continued until 1931 when all primary training was transferred to Randolph Field, north of San Antonio. Randolph was an entirely new Air Corps station, conceived and designed as a model airfield for flying training.
Hangar 9 was hastily constructed in December 1917 and January 1918 to house the Curtiss JN-4 airplane, the "Jenny," which became the basic training plane for thousands of American pilots during World War I. The hangar was one of 16 constructed at Brooks and is recognized as the oldest existing wooden airplane hangar on a U. S. Air Force installation. A brick hangar at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, was also completed in 1918. Hangar 9 was considered temporary construction when it was built, but its solid wood frame construction insured its longevity.
Hangar 9 was restored in 1969. It formerly housed the U.S. Air Force Museum of Aerospace Medicine, an extensive collection of photographs and equipment related to aviation and aerospace medicine, as well as information on the early history of Brooks Field. A base closure in 2011 also closed the museum; however, there is potential to re-open the museum as a part of a new community designed on the grounds of the former Air Force Base. - NPS