Northeast of Dayton, Ohio, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base encompasses parts of Greene and Montgomery counties. Surrounding communities include Beavercreek, Fairborn, Riverside and Huber Heights. The base covers more than 8,000 acres of land (12.5 square miles) and provides operational support for more than 100 associate units 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 State Route 444 runs between the two areas.
The base has a rich aviation heritage and has been a leader in military aviation development from the time of Orville and Wilbur Wright to today’s aerospace age. The pioneering work of the Wright brothers 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 AFB. 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.
The base is headquarters for a vast, worldwide logistics system and 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. Major units at Wright-Patterson AFB include the 88th Air Base Wing, the 445th Airlift Wing, the Air Force Installation Contracting Agency, the Air Force Institute of Technology, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Air Force Materiel Command, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, and the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
Wright-Patterson also hosts the annual United States Air Force Marathon on a September weekend closest to the date the service was
created: Sept. 18, 1947. The events include a two-day expo, a full and half marathon, and wheelchair, 10K and 5K races.
More than 27,000 military members and civilian and government contractor employees work at Wright-Patterson AFB, making the base the largest single-site employer in the state of Ohio and one of the largest employers among Air Forces bases worldwide.