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More than a road: The story behind Wright-Patt’s Hobson Way

  • Published
  • By Matthew Clouse
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — Hobson Way on Area B, which runs from the Air Force Institute of Technology to the 711th Human Performance Wing campus, honors former Rep. David Hobson.

And unlike the other streets on Wright-Patt, Hobson is the only person still alive with a road named in his honor.

“Is that right?” Hobson said while laughing.   

Hobson served as a U.S. representative from Ohio’s 7th Congressional District, previously located in the southwest part of the state, from 1991 to 2009. In 2003, for his contributions to the base, Gen. Lester Lyles, then-Air Force Materiel Command commander, sent an official letter to the former Air Force chief of staff, Gen. John Jumper, proposing to rename P Street on Area B.     

“Memorialization of P Street as Hobson Way would be a fitting tribute to this extraordinary man who has been a tremendous supporter of the men and women of Wright-Patt and the Air Force around the world,” Lyle proclaimed in the letter.

Later that year, the proposal was approved, and Hobson Way became a part of base history.

“I’ve brought my family and grandkids to base a couple of times to look at the sign,” Hobson, now 85, said proudly.

During his tenure, Hobson was a strong supporter of the missions at Wright-Patt and across the Air Force. His accomplishments include:

  • Procured $13 million in funding to upgrade AFIT research laboratories.   
  • Pushed for Wright-Patt to receive one of four supercomputers. On May 12, 1997, the base officially opened a supercomputer lab called the Major Shared Resource Center.
  • Voiced concerns about low pay for military doctors and pressed the Department of Defense for military medical system reforms.
  • Secured funding for the Doolittle Acquisition Complex on Area B that now houses Air Force Life Cycle Management Center program executive offices.
  • Pushed for increases to the fiscal year 2000 budget to address military housing and real-property maintenance backlogs.
  • Supported additional funds for new child development centers.

“I’ve always prided myself on trying to help people, whether it was in Congress or any other job I had,” Hobson said. “I wanted to make sure that the missions at Wright-Patterson enhanced the Air Force and enhanced the jobs and quality of life for the people in the region. And I think we achieved a lot of that, and I think it’s been proven today with the missions growing.”

Another lasting impact Hobson had on the Miami Valley region was co-sponsoring the Dayton Aviation Heritage Preservation Act of 1992. The legislation was signed by President George H.W. Bush on Oct. 16, 1992, and established the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park as a unit of the National Park Service.

Today, the park system includes five sites:

  • Hawthorn Hill
  • Huffman Prairie Flying Field
  • Paul Laurence Dunbar House
  • The Wright Cycle Company
  • Carillon Historical Park

Hobson was born Oct. 17, 1936, in Cincinnati and served in the Ohio Air National Guard from 1958 to 1963. He currently resides in Springfield.