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Air Force designates new cyberspace, communications heritage center

Lt. Gen. Mary O'Brien

Lt. Gen. Mary F. O’Brien helped to officially unveil the new signage for the Air Force’s Cyberspace and Communications Heritage Center on Feb. 10, 2020, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. She is the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Cyber Effects Operation, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Arlington Va.. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shannon Moorehead)

Brig. Gen. Chad Raduege

Brig. Gen. Chad D. Raduege provides opening remarks during the Air Force’s dedication of it’s first-ever Cyberspace and Communications Heritage Center on Feb. 10, 2020, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Raduege is Director of Cyberspace and Information Dominance and Chief Information Officer, Headquarters Air Combat Command, (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shannon Moorehead)

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Brig. Gen. Chad D. Raduege and Lt. Gen. Mary F. O’Brien represented Air Combat Command and the Air Force’s cyber and intel community during the dedication of the Air Force’s first-ever Cyberspace and Communications Heritage Center on Feb. 10, 2020, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Raduege is the Director of Cyberspace and Information Dominance and Chief Information Officer, ACC, and O’Brien is the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Cyber Effects Operation, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Arlington Va. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shannon Moorehead)

Cyberspace and Communications Heritage Center designation

Attendees at the Cyberspace and Communications Heritage Center dedication ceremony on Feb. 5, 2020, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. The ceremony honored the vast efforts in collecting communications cyberspace, and information artifacts over a 30 year period. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shannon Moorehead)

Switch board

The switch board that made the call alerting the United States that Pearl Harbor was under attack during the start of World War II Feb. 10, 2020, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shannon Moorehead)

Enigma machine

A four-rotor Naval Enigma (M4) machine Feb. 10, 2020, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Around 1,600 devices were created and there remains around 100 in existence. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shannon Moorehead)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. --

The Air Force has designated its first-ever Cyberspace and Communications Heritage Center, dedicated to preserving and telling the story of cyber, communications and information systems personnel and missions at the atrium of the Cyberspace Capabilities Center (CCC)building.

The heritage center houses over 800 artifacts that has been 30 years in the making and it will now serve as the future home to cyber-related historical artifacts from throughout the Air Force. 

In addition, there is an archive containing 2,000 sq. feet of documents, 1,500 rolls of microfilm, oral histories, photographs and other mixed media resources.

“Why here and why now? This center serves as a bridge from our history to where we are today,” explained Brig. Gen. Chad Raduege, Director of Cyberspace and Information Dominance, and Chief Information Officer, Air Combat Command. “Although cyber forces now fall under ACC (located in Virginia), our cyber home has always been at Scott Air Force Base. This dates back to the early 1900’s when Scott Field was hailed as the ‘eyes and ears of the Army Air Forces’ … when we graduated over 150,000 Airmen to be radio operators.”

Creating the actual heritage center began in 1989 under the direction of the Air Force Communications Command when the newly named Gen. Harold Grant building opened, and artifacts started being gathered and centrally located in the atrium. 

In 2003, under the Air Force Communications Agency leadership, the atrium was officially dedicated and named for Lt. Gen. Robert Ludwig, the last commander of a major command for communications and information.

In 2012, under the Air Force Network Integration Center, there were significant additions to the displays as it focused more on the entire contributions of the Air Force in these career fields.

It was in 2017, from a combination of AFNIC and the CCC efforts that a major renovation and upgrade to the heritage area were completed, which set the tone for the current heritage center today.

“The change to a Cyberspace and Communications Heritage Center does several things,” Raduege added. “A heritage center allows us to appropriate funds, hire a professional staff, organize a volunteer team and keep it open for visitors. It also formally designates this as the permanent location for future artifacts … and designates it as a 501c, allowing for tax-deductible contributions to help maintain this facility.”  

He said the Air Force is answering the “why now” question because of the merging of the cyberspace and ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) communities to help start thinking about efficiencies and what the battle landscapes will be in the future. 

Representing the ISR community was Lt. Gen. Mary O’Brien, deputy chief of staff for ISR and Cyber Effects Operations at Headquarters Air Force.

As she presided over the unveiling of the nameplate, she stated that the heritage center represented the pioneers of the past and that the center will continue to tell their stories to be a source of inspiration for future cyber and communications Airmen.

Daniel Williams, CCC historian, said making the heritage center come alive involved commanders, historians, curators, civilians who provided numerous donations, and other members across the Department of Defense.

“Cyber Airmen should know that they will now have a place to preserve their heritage and tell their story,” Williams said. “As the center’s collection grows, so will their stories. This represents a very strong beginning and a bright future for the Air Force’s newest heritage center.”

The heritage center is located at 203 W. Losey St., Scott AFB, and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s closed on weekends and holidays.