Feb. 27, 1963 - The Air Force formally put into service today one of the world’s largest and most advanced data communications networks. The system links five electronic message switching centers that serve about 300 Air Force and industry installations. Its main job is to match up the needs of the armed forces for supplies and equipment all over the world with stocks or producers of the item. The Defense Department said the new system was the first unit of a departmental worldwide digital communication network. General Curtis LeMay, Air Force Chief of Staff, said activation of the new system, while not on the surface as spectacular as the launching of a new ICBM, is “every bit as important to our security.” Walter P. Marshall, president of Western Union, the prime contractor for the system, formally presented the network to the Air Force at the Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
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