Camp John Wise

Camp John Wise is a former United States Army military garrison, located in San Antonio, Texas. During World War I it was used as a training field for the U. S. Army Balloon Corps between 1917 until 1919.

Balloon beds from the air over Camp John Wise circa 1918.

The airfield was one of thirty-two Air Service training camps established in 1918 after the United States entry into World War I.[1] It named for John Wise of Philadelphia, a pioneer balloonist who constructed a balloon in which he set a world distance record in 1869.


Camp John Wise was a temporary World War I aviation facility, named in honor of John Wise, an early American aeronaut, who constructed a balloon which he set a world distance record in 1869. The facility was located on 261 acres of leased land four miles north of downtown San Antonio. The personnel were quartered at Fort Sam Houston until March, when construction on their barracks was completed.[2]

It was the home of the Army Balloon School, which was established on 19 January 1918. The Balloon School was transferred there from Fort Omaha, Nebraska. It included a school for enlisted specialists to be assigned to balloon companies; the organization of overseas and depot companies, and a course in balloon maneuvering for officers of balloon companies. It had a student capacity of 1,550.[2]

The base reached a maximum strength of thirty-three officers and 1,800 enlisted men and was equipped with four balloons. The base was closed in 1919.

Current statusEdit

John Wise's grave is at Fort Sam Houston in the quadrangle parking lot.

See alsoEdit


  This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  1. ^ William R. Evinger: Directory of Military Bases in the U.S., Oryx Press, Phoenix, Ariz., 1991, p. 147.
  2. ^ a b Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the First World War, Volume 3, Part 2, Center of Military History, United States Army, 1949 (1988 Reprint), Zone of the Interior, Territorial Departments, Tactical Divisions organized in 1918. Posts, Camps and Stations.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 29°25′26″N 98°29′36″W / 29.42389°N 98.49333°W / 29.42389; -98.49333 (Camp John Wise)