Between 40 and 45% of Yuma Proving Ground's workforce is former military. (Photo credit
Between 40 and 45% of Yuma Proving Ground's workforce is former military. (Photo credit (Photo Credit: Ana Henderson) VIEW ORIGINAL

When the general public thinks of members of the Armed Forces they might automatically imagine them on the frontlines at war; however, there are many who have served in other capacities and are using those skills at U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG).

Between 40 and 45% of YPG’s workforce is former military. Perhaps this is in part because of the local presence of YPG and Marine Corps Air Station-Yuma, with many veterans deciding to make Yuma their home. While that might be the case, YPG employs veterans from all branches of service. Another reason may be because the Armed Forces instills a work ethic unlike no other and that’s exactly the type of employees YPG is looking for to meet the demands of all aspects of the developmental test world.

Retired Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Huram Torres says while serving he learned, “Be all you can be. If you work hard enough you can accomplish any goal that you set for yourself. Know yourself. Seek self-improvement and always be on time ten minutes early!”

During his time in the Army, Torres started out as a tank mechanic then subsequently an automotive maintenance technician, then became a battalion maintenance officer. Torres now uses those skills at YPG as an Equipment Specialist at the Metrology and Simulation Division. He never worried if his skills would translate to the civilian workforce, “The Army taught me to be a mechanic and equipment maintenance manager. I signed up right out of high school.”

In addition to the testing side at YPG the installation supports a small community where active duty, retired military, civilians, contractors and their families reside. U.S. Army YPG Garrison provides amenities similar to a small town which includes a fire department, police department, health and fitness centers, as well as resources for financial and family well-being.

Retired Air Force MSgt Arlene Gentry came to YPG following her retirement to work as the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. In the Air Force she started as an information manager, working in administration and small computer maintenance then cross-trained and became an equal employment opportunity advisor until retirement. Gentry, like Torres said her time serving prepared her for a career after the military. “I was in a career field that handled both military and civilian complaints. I was trained in both processes and knew I could transfer into either state or government positions with my background.”

Both value their time in the military.

“Joining the military and serving 21 years was one of the best decisions of my life. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat” said Gentry.

Just like the hundreds of other veterans working at YPG, Torres and Gentry take pride in serving their county in a different manner. “It's been an honor and a pleasure to serve and assist other Veterans,” said Torres.

Gentry adds, “I love being here at YPG, learning the Army way of life has been such a great experience for me.”