Scott Air Force Base, Illinois --
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.