ADELPHI, Md. - Army civilians support the nation, the Army and its Soldiers in times of war and peace by improving the readiness of the force. During the month of August, the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command and Aberdeen Proving Ground are highlighting Department of the Army civilians who are committed to selfless service in support of the protection and preservation of the United States.
Robert Reams Jr., Adelphi Laboratory Center (ALC)
Where are you from originally?
Reams: "My story begins with my family. I was a State Department brat born in South Africa where my father was working with the Foreign Service of the State Department. I was in Denmark with my parents when America's involvement in World War II began. My family was a part of 115 Americans who were held at Jeschke's Grand Hotel in Bad Neuheim, Germany as guests of the Gestapo for nine months. We were then returned to the United States on May 12, 1942 as part of a diplomatic exchange."
How long were you with ALC?
Reams: "I left the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) after about 6 years which would make my Army career about 61 years."
Do you have experience with other commands or as a service member?
Reams: "Throughout my career I have served to support many other agencies but the only command has been the Army Laboratory.
During my career I have supported:
• The National Security Agency
• The U.S. Air Force
• Defense Nuclear Agency (Rad-Hard devices)
• Commerce Department
• Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
• Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA/ DARPA)- The Advanced Lithography Program
• Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
• National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)
• The U.S. Navy
• The United States Special Operations Command (US SOCOM)
• The Very High Speed Integrated Circuit (VHSIC) Tri-Services Program"
What was your specialty during employment with the Army?
Reams: "The primary interest was optical lithography and the many applications of this technology. I also developed the software required to fabricate complex circuits ensuring the design was solid. I was also required to defend the optical approach against technologies that were incapable of meeting mission requirements during the VHSIC Tri-Services Program. I was made responsible for the lithography developments used by the program by the director, Sonny Maynard."
What did a typical workday consist of?
Reams: "There was no typical working day because every day was a new experience. For a long period, I supervised the integrated circuit facility. We had a complete functional complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) fabrication facility. My most consistent function was hunting for funding to support the people and purchase equipment which was needed as technology changed. I also made sure the team was a happy working partnership."
How did your Army career help you cope with everyday life?
Reams: "My career helped me to learn how to attach importance to projects and complete in order of importance. I also developed a deeper understanding for the people who I interacted with. Very early I realized I wanted to contribute to the lives of people. I became affiliated with the paramedic program that was just starting in Maryland. I was in the first class to be certified to practice medicine without a license. I became a master paramedic and maintained that for 24 years at the Wheaton Volunteer Squad. Actually, there is nothing more rewarding than actually bringing someone back to life. Over my career as a paramedic I estimate I cared for more than 6000 patients."
What did you enjoy about your work with the Army?
Reams: "The ability to directly impact problems the GI in the field must contend with and the ability to survive. I was able to impact their survivability which led to a very good feeling on my part. The Army also gave me an opportunity to learn many new technologies and to solve problems impacting other services and the country."
What advice would you give a civilian who is considering employment with the Army?
Reams: "Try and maintain a broad picture of other technologies and how they may be used to solve problems. Always be the first to raise your hand if someone is looking for a solution to a problem currently vexing management. Find the solution and you will gain respect from the community. Always look for a solution outside the box. The Army is a wonderful calling and can bring great satisfaction to a civilian scientist."