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New Lackland Facilities Carry Name Of Most Decorated U.S. Airman In Air Force History

Ryan Loyd
TPR News
Airmen Training Complex #2 is named after Chief Master Sergeant Duane Hackney, the most decorated U.S. Air Force airman in history.

A new generation of airmen and leaders will enjoy a new training facility and residence hall at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

Leaders there dedicated the building Wednesday, already in use, as the Airmen Training Complex #2. It is now named the Chief Master Sergeant Duane D. Hackney building.

Hackney faced incredible danger during the Vietnam War doing pararescue, and often disregarded his own safety to help others. According to a description in the program for the ceremony, he was once wounded by shrapnel and received third degree burns during a mission.

Hackney was the most decorated airman in U.S. Air Force history. His son, Jason, traveled to San Antonio to see the dedication of the facility.

"I'm inspired myself," he said. "I didn't get to see much of the military side of him; it was the family side of him. So when I come here and see the pride in people's eyes and the inspiration I see in people's eyes, it's amazing what he still does from beyond the grave."

A new generation of trainees will pass through the new facility, which will hold up to 1,200 personnel to be used for living and training space.

Col. Deborah Liddick, who heads up Basic Training at Lackland, says the new building is modern and efficient. She said it is not stereotypical of the sterile or institutionalized environment people may think of basic training.

"I know at graduations when they (the new Airmen) bring their families over, they're very proud to show off their new facilities, especially if their families are prior military and they lived in the old facilities, go, 'Wow, you guys are lucky. This is a lot nicer than what we had,'" she said.

Jason Hackney was just nine when his dad passed away at the age of 46 from a heart attack.

But to this day, he says he still hears stories and still learns new things about what his dad accomplished.

"He's held great honor for the Air Force and I'm proud of that," he said.

The first new Airmen Training Complex opened last December and a third is on schedule to open next April or May.

The old training facilities will be phased out over time, said Liddick, and they will either be re-purposed or demolished.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.