COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. –
For the majority of Soldiers in the Army Reserve, the military is a part-time job, with them serving one weekend a month and two weeks or so a year. This is the standard obligation for most when it comes to Reserve or National Guard duty, but Capt. Jack Lamotte has turned the Army Reserve into a launching pad for a career in space with on- and off-active duty orders in 1st Space Brigade for almost a decade.
“Through all of my hands-on experience over the years dealing with the ins and outs of Army Space, I have been able to get full-time work, not only in the Army, but in the civilian world as an engineer for a period of time,” Lamotte said, who currently works in the S3 (training) Space Control Shop at 1st Space Brigade, where he plans and executes world-wide missions and assists with space control assets and the helping of Soldiers accomplish their missions. “It’s amazing where this career path can take Soldiers.”
Lamotte, 33, originally joined the Colorado Army National Guard and commissioned as an ordnance officer in 2011, a branch he described as being “okay.” He enjoyed being a platoon leader and gained leadership experience in that role, but described his job as more of a paper pusher than anything else.
It wasn’t the right fit for Lamotte, and he decided to crossover into Army Space in a unit he knew would be deploying shortly.
“I really wanted to deploy,” Lamotte said. “I didn’t join the military to train and just sit at home.”
No, Lamotte joined the military to follow in his dad’s footsteps (a retired infantry senior noncommissioned officer) and out of a sense of duty to his country. He also joined to get out and see the world – something he would soon do after becoming an FA-40 – Space Operations Officer - in 2013.
For 10 months, five of which were without air conditioning in stifling heat, Lamotte worked out of a tent at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, training and certifying Soldiers on different crew positions dealing with space control systems.
“Basically we made sure the health and welfare of U.S. and allied satellite signals were up and running,” Lamotte said. “There were several hundred signals and spectral changes in any given week to monitor for changes, but the most difficult aspect of that deployment was maintaining crew integrity and keeping morale up.”
Lamotte then turned around and deployed to Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar four months after coming home from Kuwait. This time he worked the planning and logistics side of the house.
“At the detachment level, we’re not really given all the information concerning operations, or the whole picture,” Lamotte said. “I really wanted to see that, and they had an opening, so I took it.”
Lamotte worked side-by-side with United States Central Command (CENTCOM) and Army Cyber Command for 10 months in 2014 to 2015 in what he described as a relaxed operations tempo deployment with only one other Soldier from 1st Space Brigade.
Upon returning home, Lamotte was an officer-in-charge of an Army Space Support Team for a stint, then attended and graduated from the Army Space Operations Qualification Course, and thereafter received his master’s degree in space operations with an emphasis in technical management and engineering from Webster University in 2018 to round out his space education.
Since then he has taught Soldiers systems on the Mobile Integrated Ground Suite (MIGS) at the U.S. Army Space Missile Defense School, where he held a contract job as a space control planner in the shop he works in now, and even worked as a civilian engineer with Cosmic Advanced Engineering Solutions in research and development.
His most recent set of active duty orders came about in the fall 2021 in the position he currently holds.
“You really never know where your military career will take you,” Lamotte said. “During my time in Army Space, I have had the experience to work in every aspect of the different missions that 1st Space Brigade is responsible for. This has helped me gain an understanding of the whole picture of how SMDC makes the entirety of the Army a more lethal fighting force.”