Skip to main content

Military Appreciation Month: A Look Back at Our Military Connection

World War II Women Employees recruited by the Air Service Command to fill many critical jobs at the Fairfield Air Depot​Throughout our 90-year history, Wright-Patt Credit Union (WPCU) has been proud to serve the distinct financial needs of this area’s military members and their families, active duty and retired. 

As we close out Military Appreciation Month, we want to take a look back on our credit union’s own military roots and strong ties to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB).

In fact, Wright-Patt Credit Union traces its beginnings back to a savvy and insightful group of government workers at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio—the future WPAFB.

Wright Field—Where It All Began

WPCU traces its humble origins back to the early 1930s when one of the workers at Wright Field fell ill and went without pay for several weeks. He and his family were hurting so thoughtful co-workers chipped in 25 cents apiece every pay day and dropped it in a shoebox to help.

Realizing what a great idea this was, employees at Wright Field continued to donate a quarter each pay day to create a fund for fellow workers who might also need assistance to weather tough times.

Over time, this little shoebox of money grew to become Wright-Patt Credit Union—almost 450,000 members strong today.

This month and every month, we are proud to serve and celebrate our military members, as well as our strong connection to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. To them, we say thank you for their service and sacrifice.

Members often ask about the picture to the right ​that decorates the wall of the Area B Member Center. The story behind the photo is that during World War II, women employees were recruited by Air Service Command to fill many critical jobs at the ​Fairfield Air Depot, working side-by-side with men overhauling engines in Buildings 13 and 89. From employing 500 people in 1939, the depot expanded to more than 19,000 workers in 1943.*

Did You Know?**​

  • The first WPCU Member Center opened in June of 1932 inside Building 16 at Wright Field, which today is known as the Area B section of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
  • In addition to our Area B Member Center, WPCU has two other base locations—Area A Member Center (opened 1956) and Kittyhawk Member Center (opened 1959).
  • Military connections are strong in our organization: 13 or our 14 dedicated WPAFB partners have direct ties to one of the six military branches, while many partners throughout our credit union (even members of our Board of Directors) have served or are currently serving.

What’s in a Name? 

  • 1932 – On June 10, 1932, union employees at Wright Field received a charter from the State of Ohio to start a credit union and F.E.U. Local #148 Credit Union was established 
  • 1948 – Name changed to Wright Field Credit Union 
  • 1951 – Membership expanded to include civil service employees at WPAFB and name changes to Dayton Federal Employees Credit Union 
  • 1952 – The credit union opened membership to include military personnel 
  • 1962 – Name changed to Wright-Patt Credit Union, Inc. 

​*Air Force Materiel Command History Office article, A Look Back: Fairfield Air Depot, by R. Ray Ortensie. Published 7/20/21.​

**Thanks to the helpful Partners at our WPAFB Member Centers for compiling these facts.