Capt. Cody Kehres was recently assigned to Dugway Proving Ground for one year to work under the Army’s Training with Industry program. He is the first Army Chemical Corps Soldier to be selected, spending six months with Chemical Test Division and six with Special Programs Division.
The program integrates active duty service members into the civilian work force, to better understand how military items are manufactured and tested. When his year is up, he will go to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland to become an evaluation officer.
Two more Soldiers are slated to come to DPG soon under the program, a warrant officer and senior noncommissioned officer.
Kehres will work with the Swatch Permeation Test Fixture, Reengineered 2.0 team (SPiTFiRE 2.0), while with the Chemical Test Division; SPiTFiRE 2.0 is a system for testing samples (swatches) of clothing and other material to determine how well it protects the wearer against chemical warfare agents.
He will also work in various roles on other test programs to gain a broader perspective of test and evaluation activities in the Chemical Test Division.
Kehres has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and was in the ROTC program. Most candidates for the Training with Industry program are from logistics or engineer backgrounds, he noted.
“I think this speaks well for the program, because I have no educational background with chemistry but I was still able to come here and integrate with the scientists,” he said.
When Kehres arrived at DPG, he saw the last of the original SPiTFiRE fixture, learned its failings, then assisted with an improved design -- SPiTFiRE 2.0. He is now learning how that improves testing.
Kehres recently earned Agent Handler 2 certification, and is intrigued by the prospect of working directly with chemical agent.
The Training with Industry program was the idea of former DPG Commander Col. Sean Kirschner, Kehres said, adding that for some time he’s used Col. Kirschner and former DPG commander Col. Scott Gould as mentors. He praised both for their guidance and ability to answer his questions.
“This has definitely been the most unique duty assignment I’ve had in my eight years in the Army,” Kehres said. “It’s been refreshing to focus on what they sent me here to do.”