DVIDS- Photo by R.J. Oriez. The appearance of DoD visual information does not imply endorsement.

By Carla Olivo, USMC Spouse

Welcome to Ohio, the Buckeye State!

Wright Patterson AFB, outside of Dayton, is a large base with a long history of flight tests spanning from the Wright Brothers into the Space Age.

It is actually two airfields, Wright and Patterson Fields. They were originally Wilbur Wright Field and the Fairfield Aviation General Supply Depot. The Army Air Service established both as World War I installations. A merger of Patterson and Wright Fields in 1948 created Wright – Patterson Air Force Base.

Where is Wright Patterson AFB?

Wright – Patterson Air Force Base, is located in Greene and Montgomery counties. The base is surrounded by the cities of Fairborn, Beavercreek, Huber Heights, Kettering, and Dayton. The main gate to the base is located on State Route 444 in Fairborn, Ohio. Wright Field is approximately 5 miles northeast of Dayton and Patterson Field is about 10 miles in the same direction. Additionally, there are two runways, supporting an average of 47,000 aircraft operations every year.

The 88th Air Base Wing (88 ABW) is responsible for three primary mission areas. They include operating the installation; deploying expeditionary Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism; and defending the base. The 88th ABW  also operates the airfield, maintains all infrastructure, and provides security, communications, medical, and legal. The Wing also provides transportation, air traffic control, public affairs, recreation and chaplain services for more than 60 associate units. More than 5,000 officers, enlisted Air Force, civilian and contractor employees work for the 88th ABW.

Wright – Paterson AFB is the headquarters of the Air Force Materiel Command. The base also serves as headquarters of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. The Air Force Research Laboratory, Institute of Technology, and the National Museum of the U. S. Air Force are here. It’s also home to the 445th Airlift Wing of the Air Force Reserve Command, which flies the C-17 Globemaster.

“Wright-Patt,” as the base is often called, is also the location of a major USAF Medical Center.

Wright Patterson AFB HOUSING

Military housing at Wright Patterson, called The Properties at Wright Field, is managed by the Wright Field Development Company. Two, three, and four bedroom homes are offered in two neighborhoods called “The Prairies” and “The Woods.”

These communities are currently home to more than 1,300 service men and women and their families. Seven hundred eighty-nine new single-family homes,  and townhouses feature modern floor plans and amenities. They also have attached garages, privacy fencing, and high-speed internet access.

Families looking to live off-base can find homes and apartments for rent or sale in the city of Dayton. Military families also live in the nearby communities of Fairborn, Beavercreek, Riverside, and Springfield.


The cost of living in the surrounding area of Wright – Patterson AFB is very reasonable. Homes near the base sell for below the national average. The median home price for the area is $214,600. The average cost of a rental is approximately $525 per month.



There are no public schools located on Wright Patt AFB. All K-12 students attend schools in the nearby off-base community. The two closest districts are Fairborn City Schools and Mad River Local School District.

Health Care

The medical center complex at Wright-Patt underwent a major renovation recently. Featured are an overhauled ICU, updated patient rooms, surgery areas, a dental clinic, new dining facilities and office areas. Renovations modernized 30 different departments and consolidated medical departments and counseling services. The 88th Medical Group provides primary and specialty care to more than 58,000 eligible beneficiaries.

For Fido

All pets living on Wright Patterson AFB must be registered with the VTF upon arrival. Residents in family housing may keep up to two pets without paying a deposit. The Veterinary Treatment Facility provides care to pets at Wright-Patterson.

For the Kids

Four child development centers offer full-day care to the base’s eligible patrons for children six weeks to 5 years old. Centers also provide hourly care to children from 6 months to 12 years old when space is available.

Clubs offered at the Teen and Preteen Center include Science Club, 4-H, World Diversity, Drama Club, Fine Arts, SMART Girls, Healthy Habits, Chat Time, and more.

Staying Active

Outdoor Recreation offers programs and equipment rentals to include: camping gear, canoes, kayaks, bikes, and sporting equipment. Two golf courses at Wright-Patt  AFB are open to active duty military, retired military, reservists, civilian employees, family members, and guests. Prairie Trace Golf Course has an 18-hole course, a nine-hole course, three putting greens, and a driving range. Additionally there are rental clubs, a clubhouse, snack bar, golf repair shop, and leagues for men, women, and youth. The 18-hole Twin Base Golf Course has three practice greens, a clubhouse and snack bar, a pro shop, rental clubs, and leagues for men, women, and youth.

The on-base tennis facility has four indoor courts, automatic ball machines, and a pro shop. Adult and youth lessons and clinics are also available to active-duty and retired military, reservists, base civilian employees, retired civilians, and family members.

Three fitness centers and a health club also offer many programs ranging from open play basketball, volleyball and racquetball, to instructional classes, such as aerobics and kickboxing. Additionally, there are three swimming pools on base. The Patterson and Prairies outdoor pools are open seasonally. The indoor pool at the Dodge Fitness Center is open year-round.

There is an on-base library, the Kittyhawk Bowling Center, Prairie Trace Golf Course, indoor Tennis Club, Commissary and Exchange.


The climate throughout much of the state of Ohio is hot and muggy in the summers and cold and dry in the winters. In Dayton, the warmest month is July, with an average high of 87 degrees and an average low of 67 degrees. The coldest month is January, with an average high of 36 degrees and an average low of 21 degrees. Dayton’s average yearly rainfall is about 41 inches.


The famous Wright Brothers called Dayton, Ohio, home, which is how Dayton came to be called the “Birthplace of Aviation.”

Urban legends are also the talk of the town around Wright Patterson AFB. It is rumored that after a UFO crash-landed in the New Mexico desert near Roswell in 1947, the space vessel was stored at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s notorious “Hangar 18.”

The Arnold House named after Henry H. “Hap” Arnold, the only person ever to be dubbed “General of the Air Force,” is reportedly haunted. A production crew from the show “Ghost Hunters” allegedly found at least five ghosts living in the house. Visitors often report strange noises, objects moving on their own, strange shadows, and other phenomena.

Many people believe airmen who initially flew or worked on the planes stored at the National Museum of the United States Air Force located on Wright Patt AFB continue to live in them still.


If spirits from another world are not your thing, there is plenty more to see and do in this part of Ohio. Wright-Patterson hosts the annual United States Air Force Marathon which occurs the weekend closest to the Air Force’s anniversary in September.

Visit the National Museum of the United States Air Force. The NMUSAF is the oldest and largest military aviation museum in the world, with more than 360 aircraft and missiles out to view. Drawing over 1 million visitors a year, this museum is a bucket list item while stationed here.

You may not expect to find a castle in the middle of Ohio, but you won’t be disappointed when planning a visit to the Piatt Castles in West Liberty in Logan County. These two 19th century homes have been open to the public as house museums for more than a century.
Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy Miami Valley for canoeing, kayaking, and rafting. RiverScape River Run is a top-rated local attraction.

The Winery at Versailles, the Old Mason Winery, Caesar Creek, or the Olde Schoolhouse and Valley Vineyards are all favorite wineries around Dayton for wine lovers.

The Country Concert at Fort Loramie draws some of the biggest country music artists in the country each July. Bring your camping gear to enjoy this multi-day country music event.

Farm owners across the region get creative, designing corn mazes, and hosting family-friendly activities on the weekends throughout the fall. These unique mazes are fun for the family and a great photo op too!

Carla Olivo has garnered numerous journalism awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, News Writing, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel and their two children.