Elliot Valenstein enlisted in the Army at the age of 18 following the Pearl Harbor attack. After training he was shipped to the South Pacific. They traveled without escort and landed in Australia. Before the Coral Sea victory the Japanese were unstoppable.
His unit was then sent on to Bombay, India and crossed to Calcutta by train. Elliot received quick training in how to string lines. There was fear the the Japanese who were threatening India would link up with the Africa Corp from the East. In Burma, his unit met up with Head Hunters. Elliot's unit worked under a great deal of hardship including swollen rivers and threats of Chinese bandits.
When World War II ended, Elliot was in Calcutta. He was shipped back to Seattle and on to Fort Dix. After discharge he spent time in a VA hospital with malaria.
Eventually Elliot enrolled in college and began his research project that eventually attracted him to the University of Michigan. Much of his research was supported by NASA. After retiring Elliot continued to live in Ann Arbor and became Professor Emeritus.