(March 5, 2010)--Last Tuesday, on an unseasonably cold and windy March morning for San Antonio, UTSA President Ricardo Romo was part of an historic event at Fort Sam Houston where military brass, civic leaders and aviation enthusiasts kicked off a full year of events to celebrate 100 years of military flight.
Romo was invited to represent the San Antonio community in a program that also included Amanda Wright-Lane, great grandniece of Orville and Wilbur Wright and Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Patrick Henry Brady, a member of the Army Aviation Association of America Hall of Fame.
Wright-Lane spoke of the Wright family's continued commitment to aviation and the significance of Orville and Wilbur Wright's lives. "From a craft made of fabric and wood to the dawn of aerospace technology, a journey literally from the sand to the stars, my great granduncle's revolutionary engineering project has become a legacy for mankind," she said.
It was March 2, 1910, when U.S. Army 1st Lt. Benjamin Foulois (pronounced Fa LOY), the sole flyer of the first military airplane, catapulted from a wooden take-off tower and monorail track at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, on an aircraft purchased by the government and built by the Wright brothers. On a flimsy aircraft without a rudder, brakes or wheels, Foulois flew 7.5 minutes that day, a remarkable feat for a pilot who taught himself to fly.
His only experience before the historic March 2 flight was 54 minutes of instruction from Wilber Wright in 1909 and through correspondence with both Wright Brothers asking questions and receiving answers about engine problems and the like. Foulois said he was "the first and only pilot in history to learn to fly by mail."
Romo's inclusion in the program is significant because he was the architect of the celebration's community component, something added for the first time to this historic milestone commemoration.
According to Jim Massaro, UTSA's military liaison and assistant vice president for research and development, Romo hosted a meeting more than two and a half years ago in anticipation of this event.
"About 50 people showed up, many former Kelly Air Force Base employees and others who represented the various chambers and community groups in town," said Massaro. "Dr. Romo called the meeting because he wanted UTSA to expand its collection of military history at the Institute of Texan Cultures and thought it a good idea for the entire community to work together to celebrate 'Military City USA' on the anniversary of 100 years of military flight."
The Institute of Texan Cultures has indeed committed to its military collection and over the next few months will be actively engaging the community in a number of military-themed exhibits and special events beginning with Family Day this weekend. Read more about the event on UTSA Today.
UTSA in collaboration with the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and others were successful integrating the community into the military's commemoration and have planned additional military-themed celebrations over the next year to include the annual Fiesta River Parade. See the complete schedule of 2010 events.
The UTSA community welcomes students to their on-campus home! Laurel Village, Chaparral Village and Alvarez Hall are home for 2,300 students during the academic year, and Move-In event kicks off the start of Roadrunner Days.
Laurel Village, Chaparral Village, Alvarez Hall, Main Campus
Can you survive the library wilderness? As a part of Roadrunner Days, UTSA Libraries is hosting a mobile adventure for you to play and find out more about the library!
John Peace Library, 2nd floor, Main Campus
Come meet your UTSA Volleyball Team as they gear up for the 2017 season! The game begins at 5 p.m. then the team will hold an autograph and photo session after the game.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
This engaging discussion pulls back the covers on hooking up, clarifying when it’s actually sexual violence and how bystanders can protect potential victims from predators.
University Center, Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), Main Campus
Late Night at the Rec is an awesome UTSA tradition that transforms a standard information session into an exciting night of fun. At this annual event, you’ll be able to learn about our facilities, recreation programs, and wellness services offered at Main and Downtown Campuses.
Recreation and Wellness Center, Main Campus
The UTSA community is invited to the Community Networking events hosted by the Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion during Roadrunner Days. Various opportunities will be available that will focus on our diverse population.
H-E-B University Center Ballrooms (HUC 1.104 and HUC 1.106), Main Campus
Start in the Paseo then branch out around campus so you know where to go on the first day of classes.
University Center Paseo, Main Campus
This event offers a preview of the UC’s programs and services that students can enjoy throughout the year. There will be food and giveaways too.
University Center Paseo, Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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