The Deputy Commander for the Joint Base San Antonio network of installations said the city and military are connected in ways that cannot be counted. A recently released study showed the military had an economic impact of $27.7 billion in 2011.
Leaders say it’s only the statistical side of the equation, and when examining the social side of the issue, Dr. Steve Nivin of the SABÉR Research Institute, who studied the fiscal impact, said the overall impact seems immeasurable.
"Beyond the economic impact, it's such a part of our culture and it's in large part a lot of what San Antonio is,” said Nivin.
From about 189,000 direct and indirect jobs, to Department of Defense contracts totaling $4 billion to local businesses, leaders say the military reaches into many different industries. Nivin said it's even hard to go for a checkup without finding a former military doctor.
Col. Jim Chevallier, the Deputy Commander for Joint Base San Antonio and a new resident to the city, said these are everyday impacts that don't just happen on Veterans Day.
“The reason we're in San Antonio and the San Antonio area is to execute our military mission,” Chevallier began. “But in the conduct of that military mission, I mean we are intertwined with many, many aspects of San Antonio and Bexar County."
Mayor Julián Castro said the military helps define the city's identity because of those who make San Antonio their home, those who retire in the Alamo City after their service, and also those who spend a few years here and then move on.
"Folks who visit San Antonio often talk about many things; they talk about the River Walk, they talk about the Alamo," said Castro during a city council meeting where he presented a proclamation to Col. Chevallier. "But one thing they invariably talk about is the character of the city, what a sense of community exists. And I'm convinced that one of the reasons that's the case is because we have so many folks from our military community who call San Antonio home."