Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is located northeast of Dayton, Ohio, and encompasses parts of Greene and Montgomery counties. The base has a rich aviation heritage. The pioneering work of Orville and Wilbur Wright from 1899 to 1903 enabled them to achieve the first manned, powered flight. After their success at Kitty Hawk, they returned home to Dayton, Ohio, where in 1904 and 1905 they perfected their flying skills while turning the Wright Flyer into the first practical airplane capable of fully-controlled flight. They accomplished this work at the Huffman Prairie Flying Field, now a part of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. From 1910 to 1916 the brothers operated a flying school at Huffman Prairie. Among their 119 students were Henry "Hap" Arnold who commanded the Army Air Forces in World War II, and H. Roy Brown, the Canadian ace who was credited with shooting down the Red Baron in World War I.
Today, just off the end of Runway 23, a marker, sign and replica of the Wright Brothers 1905 hanger and catapult launcher commemorate the exact location of their early aviation accomplishments. In 1992, Huffman Prairie became one of four sites in the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has been a leader in military aviation development from the time of airplane inventors Wilber and Orville Wright to today's aerospace age.
Surrounding communities include Beavercreek, Fairborn, Riverside and Huber Heights. With over 27,000 employees, including military, civilian and contractors, Wright-Patterson is the largest single site employer in the state of Ohio with an economic impact of $4.2 billion per year. The base covers more than 8,000 acres of land (12.5 square miles) and provides operational support for more than 100 associate units located at Wright-Patterson. There are two runways, supporting an average of 47,000 aircraft operations every year. The base is divided into two areas - A and B. Ohio SR 444 runs between the two areas.
The base is headquarters for a vast, worldwide logistics system, a world-class laboratory research function, and is the foremost acquisition and development center in the U.S. Air Force. Dozens of associate organizations representing a broad spectrum of Air Force and Department of Defense activities call Wright-Patterson home. The base is comparable to a medium sized city with services ranging from shopping facilities and child care centers to housing areas and a large medical center.
The Air Force Marathon is held at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on the third Saturday of September every year. The events include a two-day Expo, a full and half marathon as well as wheelchair, 10K and 5K races.
Major units at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base:
88th Air Base Wing: As the host unit at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the Mighty 88th operates the airfield, maintains all infrastructure and provides security, communications, medical, legal, personnel, finance, transportation, air traffic control, weather forecasting, public affairs, recreation and chaplain services. The Wing reports to Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.
Air Force Materiel Command: AFMC conducts research, development, test and evaluation, and provides acquisition management services and logistics support necessary to keep Air Force weapon systems ready for war. From cradle-to-grave, AFMC provides the work force and infrastructure necessary to ensure the United States remains the world's most respected Air and Space Force.
Air Force Life Cycle Management Center: The Center provides the warfighter’s edge by acquiring and supporting war winning aircraft, engines, munitions, electronics, and cyber weapon systems and sub-systems. Every action is in support of the Air Force’s mission to fly, fight and win...in air, space and cyberspace. AFLCMC consists of 77 geographic locations, ten Program Executive Officer (PEO) directorates and 14 functional and execution support directorates.
Air Force Research Laboratory: AFRL is a global technical enterprise, leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 10,000 across nine technical directorates and 40 other operations across the globe, the Air Force Research Laboratory provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology that range from fundamentally to advanced research and technology development.
National Air and Space Intelligence Center: The DoD's primary source for foreign air and space threats. NASIC creates integrated, predictive intelligence in the air, space, and cyberspace domains enabling military operations, force modernization, and policymaking.
445th Airlift Wing: The 445th Airlift Wing is composed of an Aerospace Medicine Squadron, Aeromedical Staging Squadron and three attached groups: the 445th Maintenance Group, the 445th Operations Group, and the 445th Mission Support Group, which consists of the 87th Aerial Port Squadron, Civil Engineer Squadron, Communications Flight, Logistics Readiness Squadron, Force Support Squadron and, Security Forces. If mobilized, the wing becomes part of Air Mobility Command.
Air Force Institute of Technology: AFIT is the Air Force's graduate school of engineering and management as well as its institution for technical professional continuing education, providing defense-focused graduate and professional continuing education and research to sustain the technological supremacy of America's air and space forces.
Air Force Installation Contracting Agency: AFICA reports to the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center at Joint Base-San Antonio, Texas. AFICA is responsible for managing and executing above-Wing-level operational acquisition solutions across the Air Force enterprise.
National Museum of the United States Air Force: The oldest and largest military aviation museum in the world, with four hangars and over 300 aircraft and missiles on display, including a variety of Air Force One airplanes, displays and memorabilia.