Fort Sam Houston dedicates facility to Jennings

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With post and community leaders present, Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, unveiled its newest state-of-the-art training facility during a dedication ceremony Oct. 21, 2004.

Jennings Hall, named after the late Col. William E. Jennings, is the new, 30,000-square-foot home to the 91T Animal Care Specialist Course. 91Ts, or 91 tangos, are one of two types of veterinary technicians in the military (the other being 91Rs, or 91 romeos, who are food inspectors). The 91Ts are trained for worldwide assignments in support of the Army Medical Department, the Department of Defense Veterinary Service, the DOD Military Working Dog Program, and military medical research.

Colonel Jennings' son, the Rev. Paul W. Jennings, Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., delivered the invocation at the dedication ceremony.

The dedicatee's military service began during the interwar years. Colonel Jennings saw in action for four years during World War II in the China-India-Burma theater of operations. He later served in key leadership assignments in the Office of the Surgeon General, the Medical Field Service School, and Headquarters, Fifth Army. He was also the theater veterinarian for U.S. forces, Europe, during the height of Cold War tensions, in the 1950s.

After completing his 27-year Army career in 1961, Col. Jennings began a 33-year career as a civilian educator and public servant. His civilian service was highlighted by leadership positions in the AVMA, including two terms on the Council on Education; American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine; and other organizations. He served for 12 years as a professor at three veterinary colleges—Kansas State, Cornell, and Auburn universities. Colonel Jennings died in January 2003.

"The Veterinarian Corps is, in many ways, the unsung corps," said Maj. Gen. George Weightman, commander of the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School and Fort Sam Houston. "These soldiers have a direct effect on readiness and security worldwide."

Major General Weightman said that Jennings Hall is a model animal care teaching facility that replaces several temporary buildings that were cramped and improperly designed. It is a fitting tribute to the legacy of Col. Jennings, he added. "His vision and focus helped drive the Vet Corps to what it is today."