ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (April 24, 2017) - Serving the United States of America is a longstanding family tradition for James Valentine, an electronics engineer for the U.S. Army Materiel Command’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC. Along with fighting in every American conflict, Valentine’s family served and protected their country, even before there was a country.
“I have ancestors who fought for the colonies from the mid-1600s as well,” he said. “It was a big driving point for me to enlist.”
Following in his ancestors’ footsteps, the Cleveland native enlisted in the Army in April 1970, only a few days after his 18th birthday. After serving 11 years of active duty as a field radio operator, he began his first stint as a “weekend warrior” serving in the Army Reserve.
Shortly after 9/11, Valentine returned to the Reserves serving three tours in Iraq where he aided in satellite systems repair.
“It was quite a bit different in the 2000s,” he said. “During the late 70s after Vietnam ended, we were involved heavily in the cold war. Training up for big Army operations where there was a massive front with heavy units attacking us and heavy units fighting back. Iraq was more similar to Vietnam in the aspect that you had forward operating bases, or FOBs, that you worked out of and you would go out to a combat control base and move out of there.”
Before officially retiring from the armed forces in April 2012, Valentine has been hard at work helping to develop new technology for future Soldiers in CERDEC’s Space & Terrestrial Communications Directorate, or S&TCD, where he has been employed since 2010.
Assigned to the Tactical Communication Division’s Positioning Navigation and Timing, or PNT, program, Valentine is currently helping to develop the Pseudolite program which would replace an orbital satellite in the event it is targeted by enemy forces.
“I see the PNT program as a godsend to the Soldier,” Valentine said. “The weakest link has always been the satellite. If we lose the satellite, we lose our GPS and we can’t figure out where we’re at. And that signal is very easily hacked and attacked because it is a weak signal coming from outer space. If we can provide a service on the ground at a higher power that will give that signal to the Soldier, he will be able to complete his mission much easier than if he had to rely on map reading again.”
Prototypes of the Pseudolite program are expected to be complete in a few months to begin testing.
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