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Satnews Daily
June 30th, 2015

Twenty Years Later, MILSTAR Time Capsule Is Opened @ Offutt AFB In Nebraska

[SatNews] In the spring of 1995, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska saw the completion of its state of the art Military Strategic and Tactical Relay facility, commonly referred to as MILSTAR.

This was the world's first operational Air Force Command Post Terminal and was responsible for reliable, secure, survivable, jam resistant satellite communications and Integrated Tactical Warning/Attack Assessment data to the President, Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Strategic Command, North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Northern Command, Air Force Space Command and the 55th Wing. As a symbol of this momentous occasion, members of the original unit filled a time capsule and placed it in one of the walls, vowing to keep it sealed for 20 years.

U.S. Air Force Col. Mark Williamson, 55th Wing vice commander, stands among members of the original MILSTAR team as they look at the ribbon cutting shadow box and the time capsule plaque and box June 19 during the unveiling ceremony at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.

In attendance of the event were four original team members: (from left to right) U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ret. Bernard Lichvar, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Ret. Daniel Clatanoff, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ret. Thomas Reese and Mr. Craig Williams.

U.S. Air Force photo by Charles Haymond.

In a recent ceremony, the contents of the capsule were revealed. Present at the event, were four of the original team members: U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Ret. Daniel Clatanoff, Chief Master Sgt. Ret. Bernard Lichvar, Master Sgt. Ret. Thomas Reese and Craig Williams.

"The time capsule was my idea, but the credit for all the hard work goes to these gentlemen," said Clatanoff, who was the squadron commander when MILSTAR was first opened. "We worked hard on getting this facility operational. My hat is off to these three here and the 20 troops who brought it all together. I am very proud of them." 

Among the contents of the box were a piece of the ribbon from the ribbon cutting, a MILSTAR training certificate, local newspaper, POW/MIA bracelet, uniform name tapes, fiber optics, chief stripes and several photos. Also in attendance of the event were current squadron, group and wing leadership.

"This MILSTAR facility plays an important role in the defense of our nation and it's really neat to see the lineage between its former and current members," said Col. Mark Williamson, 55th Wing vice commander.

To this day, the MILSTAR mission is still as vital as ever. It is a cross-linking and cross-banding survivable satellite communication system linking nuclear forces with the President of The United States, and other heads of state. Cross-linking refers to the MILSTAR satellites' ability to transmit and receive information directly with one another without the need for a ground-relay station. It is the first Defense Department constellation capable of cross-linking. Cross-Banding refers to the satellites' capability of using several different frequency bands simultaneously and seamlessly.