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Peterson Space Observer

20th SPCS radar celebrates golden anniversary

By Staff Sgt. Emily Kenney | 21st Space Wing Public Affairs

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — The 20th Space Control Squadron celebrated the AN/FPS-85 radar’s 50th anniversary in a ceremony April 18, 2019 at Site C-6, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

Presiding over the ceremony was Col. Sam Johnson, 21st Space Wing vice commander and Lt. Col. David Tipton, 20th SPCS commander.

“We are honored to host such a historic event to celebrate 50 years of operations for our one-of-a-kind radar,” said Tipton. “The men and women of the 20th SPCS work tirelessly to ensure the success of our mission: executing multiplatform tactical space warfighting domain characterization, recognition, and responsiveness.”

During the ceremony, Tipton, along with the 20th SPCS superintendent, Master Sgt. Jason Childers and three former 20th SPCS commanders, unveiled a monument to honor the day’s event.

“The bottom stone is comprised of granite, signifying that the past 50 years of space operations has served as the bedrock upon which today’s space surveillance mission has been built,” said Staff Sgt. Tyler Partlow, 20th SPCS crew chief and event narrator.

“It displays a 50th anniversary logo in honor of the five decades of unwavered space operations that has been conducted at this radar. Additionally, a time capsule will be encased to carry forward radar artifacts and other items to preserve our history for future generations to see.”

“The top stone is made of black granite signifying space: the final frontier,” said Partlow.

As the event came to a close, Johnson spoke to the audience, emphasizing the importance of teamwork in maintaining space domain awareness.

“Today is a celebration of teamwork and mission accomplishment,” said Johnson. “On December 7, 1941 we had a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and as a nation we decided that was never going to happen again. We were never going to be surprised again. So we have a network of radars and a network of people all over America and all over the world making sure we never get surprised again.”

“We have the watch for now, and you can rest easy knowing that successful mission accomplishment will continue on for the next 50 plus years.”

The event concluded with an invitation for guests to tour the 20th SPCS and learn more about their operations.

20th SPCS radar celebrates golden anniversary
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