Army research center graduates first armament graduate students

Hats off to the first graduates of the Armament Graduate School at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. The first class of the Armament Graduate School, part of the U.S. Army Armament Research Development and Engineering Center graduates Sept. 10 at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. Joining the students (center left ) Mr. John F. Hedderich III, director of ARDEC and (center right) Maj. Gen. John F. Wharton, Commanding General, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. (U.S. Army photo by Erin Usawicz)

Hats off to the first graduates of the Armament Graduate School at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. The first class of the Armament Graduate School, part of the U.S. Army Armament Research Development and Engineering Center graduates Sept. 10 at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. Joining the students (center left ) Mr. John F. Hedderich III, director of ARDEC and (center right) Maj. Gen. John F. Wharton, Commanding General, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command. (U.S. Army photo by Erin Usawicz)

By Audra Calloway, Picatinny Arsenal Public Affairs

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Sept. 10, 2015) — A new chapter in developing and educating world-class armament engineers and scientists took place here Sept. 10th when eight students were recognized during the Armament Graduate School’s first commencement ceremony.

The school is unique: No other graduate school science and engineering curriculum is known to exist specifically to address armaments. Armament Graduate School course titles include esoteric topics such as “Gun-Hardened Electronics and Components,” “Warheads & Fuzing,” and “Lethality Analysis and War Gaming.”

The Armament Graduate School is part of the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC at Picatinny, whose mission is to empower, unburden, and protect the Warfighter by providing superior armaments solutions that dominate the battlefield. The center reports to the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, or RDECOM.

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Seeking the ethical robot

Dr. Ronald Arkin speaks to robotics researchers about developing ethical systems Sept. 10, 2014, at a U.S. Army Research Laboratory Colloquium at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. (U.S. Army photo by Doug Lafon)

Dr. Ronald Arkin speaks to robotics researchers about developing ethical systems Sept. 10, 2014, at a U.S. Army Research Laboratory Colloquium at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. (U.S. Army photo by Doug Lafon)

By David McNally, RDECOM Public Affairs

Scientists and engineers from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory gathered Sept. 10, 2014 to discuss ethical robots.

Dr. Ronald C. Arkin, a professor from Georgia Tech, roboticist and author, challenged Army researchers to consider the implications of future autonomous robots.

“The bottom line for my talk here and elsewhere is concern for noncombatant casualties on the battlefield,” Arkin said. “I believe there is a fundamental responsibility as scientists and technologists to consider this problem. I do believe that we can, must and should apply this technology in this particular space.”

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‘Greening’ brings fresh perspectives for Army scientists, engineers

J.J. Kowal (left) and Walt Rada sit inside a LUH-72 Lakota at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Sept. 25.

J.J. Kowal (left) and Walt Rada sit inside a LUH-72 Lakota at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Sept. 25.

GUNPOWDER MILITARY RESERVATION, Md. — Thirty U.S. Army civilians now have a greater appreciation and understanding of the rigors and challenges associated with Soldier tasks.

Five days of intense training provided first-hand experience of the technical and physical demands on Soldiers.

Maj. Shane Sims, a military deputy at the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s communications and electronics center, led a Greening Course for the civilians from Aberdeen Proving Ground. One of his goals was for participants to think like Soldiers during the training rotations.

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Army engineer helps build U.S., Chilean relationships

Jasmine Serlemitsos participated in the U.S. Army's Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program in Santiago, Chile, from September 2012 to July 2013.

Jasmine Serlemitsos participated in the U.S. Army’s Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program in Santiago, Chile, from September 2012 to July 2013.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — An exchange program participant has expanded the relationships between the U.S. and Chilean scientists and engineers.

Jasmine Serlemitsos, a U.S. Army environmental engineer, said her goal was to strengthen the countries’ connections in science and technology. At the Chilean Army’s Institute of Research and Control, or IDIC, she worked in surveillance for the safe storage of ammunition.

“I focused my goals primarily on building relations between the people in the U.S. who did work in the ammunition side and learning how to do international agreements. [The Chileans] seemed very receptive to that,” said Serlemitsos, who served in Chile from September 2012 to July 2013 as part of the Army’s Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program.

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Picatinny to grant doctoral degrees

Soon we'll have people who have earned their PhD from Picatinny Arsenal.

Soon we’ll have people who have earned their PhD from Picatinny Arsenal.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — Sure we’re already the Joint Center of Excellence for Armaments and Munitions. Now we’ll also be known as a degree granting institution. Who will be the first to earn their PhD from Picatinny Arsenal?

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RDECOM NCOPD kicks off at Redstone Arsenal

RDECOM Command Sgt. Maj. Lebert Beharie (far right) and 52 noncommissioned officers stand next to a CH-47 Chinook helicopter Nov. 5 while attending professional development training at Redstone Arsenal, Ala.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — Fifty-two Soldiers convened Nov. 5 in northern Alabama for a week of professional development and the opportunity to learn about the nation’s leading Army installation for aviation and missile research, development and testing.

The noncommissioned officers of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command will complete a physical fitness test and receive briefings, training, and facility and capability tours. They will conclude this session of NCO Professional Development with a tour of Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro, Tenn., a Civil War historic site.

Soldiers are stationed at each of the RDECOM’s seven research, development and engineering centers across the country. They provide technical and operational input to the RDECs where they are assigned.


Army, Chilean officials discuss research, development cooperation

Robert Kristovich (right), research chemist with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, explains his work at RDECOM’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center to the visiting Chilean Army officers at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Sept. 26.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Sept. 27, 2012) — Three Chilean Army officers visited the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, Sept. 24-26, to learn about its science and technology capabilities for potential collaboration between the countries.

The Chilean officers, Brig. Gen. Ricardo Martinez Menanteau, Col. Juan Guerra Bazaes and Col. Luis Araya Cano, toured RDECOM’s three research and engineering centers at Aberdeen Proving Ground — the Army Research Laboratory, known as ARL; Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center; and Edgewood Chemical Biological Center. 


Army announces greatest inventions of 2011

Spc. Nicholas Ketchen and Spc. Colt Corbin, mortarmen from Company C, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, achieved a first in the U.S. Army history by firing a 120mm Mortar Precision Guided Munition for the first time in Afghanistan, and hitting within four meters of the target, on Forward Operation Base Kushamond, Afghanistan, March 26, 2011.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — U.S. Army officials announced the winners of its greatest inventions competition Sept. 19.

A team of combat veteran non-commissioned officers, as well as U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command field-grade officers, reviewed and voted for the Army Greatest Inventions of 2011.

Dale Ormond, director of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, commended the scientists and engineers for their efforts to empower, unburden and protect Soldiers.

“The contributions made by these teams promise to improve the well-being of Soldiers and the Army’s capability to contribute to quality of life and our national security,” Ormond said. “All of the nominated inventions demonstrate significant contributions to the warfighter.

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Aberdeen Proving Ground leaders discuss vision for STEM education outreach


About 400 middle and high-school school students from Harford and Cecil counties explored Army technology, Sept. 23, 2011, during the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Educational Outreach Day at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.


ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Because of Aberdeen Proving Ground’s new role as the Army’s hub for science and technology, officials say the installation has the opportunity to become a national leader in science, technology, engineering and math education outreach.

The thousands of scientists and engineers at Aberdeen Proving Ground, or APG, should spur innovation as the Army promotes interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, said Patrick Baker, who recently assumed the newly created position of APG STEM Champion.


Army scientist recalls six decades of inquiry, breakthroughs

Harry Salem serves as chief scientist of life sciences for the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — After more than 60 years as a researcher, educator and mentor, Harry Salem remains committed to advancing the field of science in the U.S. Army.

Salem’s talents and expertise led to an already distinguished career spanning three decades in pharmacology and toxicology — including the development of the cold and cough remedies NyQuil and Contac as well as the extended-wear soft contact lens Permalens — all before joining the Army as a civilian scientist in 1984.

In his current role as the chief scientist of life sciences, Salem oversees and guides research efforts at the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center. He has recently created a Center of Excellence for Stem Cell Research, recruiting 12 post-doctoral students to help embark on his vision.


Lightning storm! Our article has gone viral

This image could only be more popular if we photoshopped a Pikachu in there.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — Our article on the laser-induced plasma channel technology has gone viral! We’ve been featured in quite a few media outlets from across the country as well as on international websites.

A slew of technology and science news sites have run the image and have adapted the release for their own.

A few media outlets in the United Kingdom have run it as well.

Here’s one from the Philippines, Russia, and Turkey.

And if I understood Portuguese, Hungarian, German, Lithuanian, and especially the Polish language, I could tell you what they said about the technology.

Oh, and it also appeared here, here, and here.

RDECOM senior NCO discusses command’s support in Afghanistan

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Command Sgt. Maj. Lebert Beharie, the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s senior noncommissioned officer, returned May 13 from a nine-day mission to Afghanistan.

In an interview with RDECOM public affairs, Beharie discussed how the command is providing the technological edge to Soldiers deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

What were your objectives during your first visit to Operation Enduring Freedom as RDECOM’s command sergeant major?

“It was two-fold. First, we have folks who are doing great work in harm’s way, supporting the Warfighter. I wanted to pay them a visit, let them know who I am, and talk with them; get their concerns and issues they are dealing with; hear about some of the opportunities they had to support our Warfighter; technologies they were able to help field.

Second, [I wanted] to meet the senior enlisted Soldiers in the battlespace and hear from them how [RDECOM is] doing providing them the resources and technology to fight on the battlefield. That part is just as important. If they don’t know that we’re there or don’t know what value we add, we quickly become low-hanging fruit. As [the Army] ramps down in theater, we become the first to go home. That would be a tragedy to leave the Soldiers without the technology or the connection to the technology that we are able to give from our labs.”

As you talked with the Soldiers and civilians supporting OEF, what support do they need from RDECOM?

“When I was a Warfighter, I did not know what RDECOM provided me. Throughout the [Army Force Generation] process and the re-set process, there was a lot of technology that came my way that we, as a unit, had to integrate into our organization.

It’s the same thing with the Soldiers currently in theater. Some do not know RDECOM existed. They received technology and support from RDECOM, but we need to do better with our strategic communications and getting the word out. Part of my reasoning for going to theater is to get the word out [what] we, as RDECOM, provide and how we can better assist our Soldiers.”

How can RDECOM’s scientists and engineers in the United States do better to provide timely solutions to address these needs?

“I think the lines of communication, the resources that we have, and the reachback capability that we have to our labs, scientists and engineers — I think that is what we need to do better.
Our scientists and engineers are doing a fabulous job supporting our Warfighters. They come to work every day energized. For us to have the reachback from [Soldiers and commanders in] theater, our [Logistics Assistance Representative and Field Service Representatives] help by telling us where the gaps are. [We] fill those gaps in our labs with an emerging technology or [with] equipment we already built to increase capabilities on the battlefield. I think our scientists and engineers are doing a great job.”

Where in Afghanistan did you go?

“I had the opportunity to tour the entire breadth of Afghanistan where major commands are. Those are the hubs. If you get the commands and hubs to understand the type of support that we provide on a daily basis, that will proliferate across the subordinate commands.
We met with [Regional Command]-South and talked with them about our lines of effort and support. [We made] sure we are linked [for] them reaching back to us. They have several ways to get to us. The [Rapid Equipping Force] 10-liner will come back to us. The [Operational Needs Statement] [Joint Urgent Operational Needs Statement] process will come back to us. Our [Science and Technology Assistance Teams] in theater will bring stuff back to us to action and provide material solutions to Warfighters.”

How does the RDECOM Field Assistance in Science and Technology-Center accomplish its mission of providing engineering solutions to Soldiers directly in theater?

“What a tremendous capability to our Soldiers. This is a big win for the Army. This is a battlefield enabler having the RFAST-C that forward in theater. In six months, they have done over 177 projects for theater. That is throughout the [Combined Joint Operation Area], throughout the battlespace. While I was there, they were working on projects for the [Afghanistan Working Group] for the Afghan Army. They are working on engineering projects for the Air Force’s AC-130.

You name it, they are working on it. You have a Soldier who walks up to the RFAST-C and says, ‘Hey, I have a problem.’ I met that Soldier, a specialist. He showed me how he came up with the design, his drawings, what he envisioned, and the problem he had. He walked up to one of our engineers and said, ‘Hey, here is a problem that I have. Here is what I think a solution could be. Can you do something about this?’ Our scientist said, ‘Absolutely we can do something about it.’ They put the engineering mental muscle behind it and came up with a great product to fill that Soldier’s problem. This proliferates on the battlefield. It was a game-changer. This was an adjustment that had to be made because of new technology that we sent to theater to protect our Soldiers. We had to adjust how we placed certain items on vehicles.

I cannot speak enough about how great of a resource [the RFAST-C] it is for theater. I spoke to RC-South, RC-East, RC-Capital. I’ve talked to every command, all the way through [International Security Assistance Force] Command, and they all are singing the praises of what we are doing in theater.”

How will RDECOM leverage the experience gained from establishing RFAST-C in OEF to set up a similar capability for future Army or joint operations?

“The Army is looking at what it calls ‘RFAST-C in a Box.’ It probably will not have all the capabilities that our current RFAST-C has, but it will have a lot of those capabilities. There are some capabilities that the Army had previously within the [Army Field Support Brigades] that are provided in theater; however, not in the quality and quantity that is provided through the RFAST-C. With our emerging technologies, I can see sometime in the future that we are going to have an ‘RFAST-C in a Box’ traveling around the battlespace. I think this was the birth of a great idea that will help the Warfighter for a long time to come.”

How can RDECOM continue to share its initiatives and contributions with the Army?

“[RDECOM Director] Mr. [Dale] Ormond sat down with the Board of Directors and came up with six lines of effort. One of the lines of effort is strategic communications. I think I can impact that in a big way through the senior enlisted leaders engagement throughout the Army.

Seeing the senior enlisted leaders in theater is great. However, I think that communication needs to start back here at home. One of the initiatives that I have started is to go out and see the divisions and the major unit commands at home before they go to theater. Let them know what we are and what we do. The Army has an educational process for deployers. Give them ways that they can enhance the performance of their Soldiers and equipment on the battlefield. One of those resources is RDECOM.

I think that we need to make ourselves part of that educational process. Let RDECOM be one of those stops that those commands will make prior to going to theater. There is no doubt in my mind that it will be an enormous game-changing opportunity for those commands. I will take the message out and let them know what we are, who we are, and what we can do for them as they fight our nation’s wars.”

With combat experience, NCOs offer insight to engineers

Richard Cox, Harbor Defense Museum Curator, briefs Soldiers from the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command about cannon used in defense of New York harbor. The trip was part of professional development training.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — Soldiers from the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command toured historic coastal defenses at the Verrazano Narrows March 22 as part of noncommissioned officer (NCO)professional development at Picatinny Arsenal from March 18-23.

Visiting Fort Hamilton, N.Y. on the east side of the narrows and Fort Wadsworth, N.Y. on the west, the NCOs saw historic fortifications, cannons and mortars that are now relics but had once been integral to state-of-the art systems designed to prevent enemy ships from attacking New York City.

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RDECOM recognizes NCO, Soldier of the Year

 ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — After five days of competition that pushed four Soldiers’ physical abilities and technical expertise, Staff Sgt. Markus Whisman and Pfc. Joshua Inserra earned honors March 30 as the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year, respectively.

RDECOM’s enlisted corps serves an important role by acting as Soldier representatives with the Army’s scientists and engineers, Command Sgt. Maj. Lebert Beharie said.

RDECOM Director Dale Ormond and Beharie presented the winners Army Commendation Medals; gift certificates from AAFES and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; and an RDECOM backpack filled with T-shirts.

Ormond recognized all the participants for their important role in RDECOM’s mission of empowering, unburdening and protecting American Soldiers.

“Thank you for your service. Thank you for your enthusiasm, motivation, leadership and commitment to excellence,” Ormond said.

Whisman, a research and development adviser assigned to Army Research Laboratory at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., and Inserra, a signal support systems maintainer assigned to Communications–Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center at APG, now advance to the Army Materiel Command NCO and Soldier of the Year competitions.

Also vying for the honors were:

— Staff Sgt. Sharalis Canales, a behavioral health NCO assigned to Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center at Natick, Mass.

— Staff Sgt. Christopher Duff, an explosive ordnance disposal team leader assigned to the EOD Technology Directorate at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.

The Soldiers discussed their backgrounds, family lives, personal goals and combat tours with the RDECOM public affairs office during the competition week.


The Soldiers agreed they have benefited tremendously from their decision to enlist.

Inserra, the junior Soldier among the competitors with 22 months of service, said he enlisted because of his family’s positive experiences in the military. His brother served in the Army, and a cousin served in the Marine Corps.

“They had that feeling of knowledge, training and confidence. I wanted that,” Inserra said.

Inserra is planning to use the Army’s educational benefits to complete his degree in electrical engineering. He praised his NCOs for their leadership and hopes to emulate them as he progresses during his Army career.

“I have a great bunch of NCOs in front of me. I want to be like them. I want to have the leadership that they have,” he said. “I’ve gained so much more confidence in myself than I could have ever imagined. I’m enjoying that confidence. I’m more confident in my writing. I’m more confident in the way I speak to people.”

Canales has changed her life dramatically since enlisting six years ago.

“I was homeless. I was living in a shelter in Times Square for six months. I needed a sense of direction. I went to the recruiting station and I joined,” she said. “The Army has been my family, and it’s been everything to me.”

Canales completed her associate’s degree three weeks ago. She is now studying for a bachelor’s degree in psychology and then plans to pursue a master’s degree in social work. After retiring from active duty, she hopes to return as an Army civilian employee.

“[I want] to continue serving in the mental-health field to help Soldiers, families and retirees,” she said.
“It’s weird how I went from being homeless and before that living in a foster home with counselors.

“When I joined the Army, the roles reversed. Now I am a counselor, so I’m able to give back. I think it’s wonderful that I can do that. My experience before I joined helped shape what I’ve learned.”


The Soldiers said the American public holds misconceptions about the Army that are reinforced by incidents such as when Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was accused of killing 17 Afghan civilians.

“One of the misconceptions is that we all go to Iraq, run around, shooting guns at whoever we see, and killing everyone,” Duff said. “That’s not what we’re there for at all. It’s not what it’s all about.

“There is a mission over there. We are all over there for a small piece of that mission and to come home safely.”

Canales echoed Duff’s comments. She said her military experience differs greatly from the images seen on TV news of infantrymen on patrol in Iraq or Afghanistan.

“I think a lot of civilians who don’t know much about the Army believe that all we do is go to war, fight, and kill people,” Canales said. “Even my brothers believe I carry a gun at all times. I wish they could come and see what we do in the Army. I’m a counselor, and I’ve been in the hospital setting for the last six years.”


Whisman and Duff have deployed to the Middle East, and they gained a better understanding of the military’s objectives in the area.

“When you deploy, you get to see a little bit of the bigger picture,” Duff said. “You see why we do what we do and what we’re there to do. For a family, it reassured my wife that she can get through a deployment and keep the house under control.”

Whisman said he has a new appreciation for life as an American.

“I saw some things that definitely put my life here in perspective. They have so little. I’ll never again take for granted what I have at home,” Whisman said. “It could be so much worse. As bad as you think you might have it, it could always be a lot worse.”

New command sergeant major assumes role at RDECOM

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command introduced its new senior noncommissioned officer to the community March 16.
Command Sgt. Maj. Lebert O. Beharie assumed duties as the leader of RDECOM’s enlisted Soldiers during a Change of Responsibility ceremony at the Post Theater. About 150 Soldiers and Army civilian employees welcomed Beharie to RDECOM and APG.


Beharie takes over from Command Sgt. Maj. Hector Marin. The Army promoted Marin to the rank of command sergeant major in 1999, and he has served as RDECOM’s senior NCO since Aug. 5, 2007.

A native of Honduras who moved to New York City at age 10, Marin enlisted in September 1981. He described his journey from a child through his three decades as a Soldier stationed across the globe.

“My journey began a long time ago when I first got to this great country. I felt a sense of duty immediately,” Marin said. “I wanted to give back to this nation for what was given to me — an opportunity to get an education, an opportunity to live free in a democratic country, a place where opportunities to excel are endless, an opportunity to serve and sacrifice for the good of all citizens of this nation. I joined the Army as part of this sense of duty. I wanted to ensure those who came before me who may have lost their lives did not do so in vain.

“As a young boy living in Honduras, I used to chase helicopters down the street. I was very fascinated by that piece of machinery. I always wondered, ‘How can something like that hang up in the sky and fly?’ So when I entered the United States and began my studies in New York, I had my eyes on becoming an aviator. Through hard work, perseverance and encouragement from family, I managed to meet the qualifications to enter the Army as an aviator. Here I am today.”

Marin thanked his fellow NCOs for their efforts to interact with RDECOM’s scientists and engineers to ensure the success of the command’s mission to empower, unburden and protect Soldiers.

“Since my arrival here, I quickly got engaged with our noncommissioned officers to ensure we understood our role in providing our engineers and scientists with relevant feedback to assist with the development of new technology and delivering it to the hands of Warfighters,” Marin said. “Our noncommissioned officers have a vital role in making sure that RDECOM is technology driven and always Warfighter focused.”


Beharie will lead the command’s 80 enlisted Soldiers at its APG headquarters and seven research centers with offices around the world. The command sergeant major serves as the principal adviser to the director in enlisted matters. He is responsible for the training, professional development, retention, readiness and discipline of Soldiers under his charge.

Beharie said he has been impressed by the passion of RDECOM scientists and engineers to support those in uniform.

“I have had some great opportunities to serve over my military career. However, serving as RDECOM sergeant major is a dream job,” Beharie said. “This organization and its professional workforce touch the lives of all the men and women in the Armed Forces, as well as our nation.

“Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to visit some of our labs and meet some of our men and women who work tirelessly to give our troops the fighting edge on the battlefield. I was blown away by the technology that they have developed and are currently working on.”

Beharie will report to RDECOM Director Dale Ormond, who replaced Maj. Gen. Nick Justice as the organization’s senior leader Feb. 10. Ormond thanked Marin for his dedication to the Army, RDECOM and Soldiers.

“What a terrific story of Command Sergeant Major Marin. [He is] a terrific Soldier and a leader of Soldiers,” Ormond said. “He wanted to give back for the opportunities that America gave him. He has connected our scientists and engineers to the Soldiers, communicating with Soldiers and talking to them about what their real issues, challenges and needs are. [He made] sure that was funneled back into us so that we have that connection to what is going on in theater.

“[He made] tremendous personal efforts to stand up the RDECOM Field Assistance in Science and Technology-Center at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. He helped put in place how we as RDECOM solve materiel [problems] at the point of need.”

In one of his first official duties, Beharie will oversee RDECOM’s annual Noncomissioned Officer/Soldier of the Year Competition at APG March 26 to 31. Five enlisted Soldiers will compete in a physical fitness test, weapons range, land navigation, obstacle course, 12-mile ruck march, essay and written exam, media interviews, and board appearance.

Beharie has served as the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade’s command sergeant major at Fort Campbell, Ky., since April 2009. He enlisted in 1986 and has four combat tours in the Persian Gulf.

Beharie and his wife, Sabrina, have three children.

Army scientist readies Soldiers’ masks for chem-bio hazards

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Soldiers’ protective masks must be ready for the unforeseen hazards of combat. The U.S. Army relies on the scientists of Edgewood Chemical Biological Center to design, engineer and test these critical items.


Jadey Pareja, an ECBC chemist, leads five scientists in the Protective Equipment Test Branch who test and analyze the carbon materials that will be integrated into mask filters. Her team aims to provide the scientific platform that shields America’s protectors.

“Our mission within our team is to protect our protectors,” Pareja said. “Everything we do within these walls is eventually going to be fielded to the Soldier.

“If we don’t do something properly or miss one tiny step, it could ultimately affect the life of someone protecting our country.”

Pareja, the carbon team leader, and her colleagues test individual- and collective-protection systems for joint-service programs. They ensure the carbon components meet the requirements for equipment fielded to Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors.


Pareja said she developed a passion for chemistry with the encouragement of her parents and teachers.

“Several teachers in middle and high school were not only there to teach you but to support you,” Pareja said. “I’ve always been a math and science hands-on person. I needed to be active and in the lab. I started working in a pharmacy when I was 16 as a junior pharmacy technician, and I loved it. I loved learning about all the chemicals, what drugs were made out of, everything about it.”

Pareja graduated from Edgewood High School and hoped to become a pharmacist after earning a bachelor of science in chemistry from Stevenson University in Baltimore County. However, she returned to the area after college to work at APG in 2002. She worked as a contractor until ECBC hired her in 2005.

“Shortly before going to pharmacy school, I decided it wasn’t the avenue I wanted to pursue. I wound up working at the place where I grew up,” she said. “Here I am working in Edgewood.”


Pareja stressed the strong bonds between scientists and engineers allow ECBC to deliver the best products to the field. Her group complements the work of the permeation and mask teams within the Protective Equipment Test Branch to provide protection from chemical and biological hazards.

“The mask team will test the masks as a complete end item with the carbon filter on them. We also have the permeation team that tests the actual material — suits, boots, gloves — that the Soldier will wear in the field,” she said.

The carbon team conducts several tests on M-18 and M-12 filters and C2A1 and M-61 canisters, Pareja said. It also taps into the wide knowledge base of subject matter experts across ECBC’s three directorates.

“We do a lot of routine testing, which has been designed by the Research and Technology Directorate. We work a lot of hands-on, side-by-side with them,” she said. “Once they perfect a method, they pass it on to us.

“There is a lot of interaction between the research side and engineering side. We rely heavily on their expertise.”

APG Leadership Cohort kicks off third year

APG leadership cohort kicks off third session

Gary Martin, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command executive deputy to the commanding general, speaks March 22 during the kickoff to APG Leadership Cohort.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Budget constraints are the most important issue that APG’s senior leaders will face in the near future, the installation’s senior civilian said March 22.

Gary Martin, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command executive deputy to the commanding general, kicked off the third session of APG Leadership Cohort with remarks to the participants.

“Cohort is more important now than when we started it a couple of years ago,” Martin said. “The leadership we need here [at APG] and in the Army is driven by the fiscal realities of what we’re facing as a country.”

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RDECOM selects top NCO, Soldier


Soldiers compete in obstacle course

Spc. Bernard Quackenbush, an avionics and survivability repair technician from the Army Research Laboratory, navigates over, around and through an obstacle course March 30 as part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s week-long Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year competition.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The “best of the best” — the top noncommissioned officer and Soldier serving in the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command — were announced here April 1 as the command’s Soldier and NCO of the Year competition drew to a close.

Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, RDECOM commanding general, presided over the awards ceremony and told Soldiers in attendance they are helping “to operationalize this command.”

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NCOs gain valuable insight on Picatinny weaponry & Revolutionary history

RDECOM NCOs look at an 18th century set of pistols at Washington's Headquarters at Morristown National Historic Park, Dec. 9.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J.– Guns, ammo, technology … and George Washington. These were items on the agenda for a group of 39 Non-Commissioned Officers from the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) during their visit to Picatinny Arsenal and Morristown National Historic Park Dec. 7 – 9.

The visit was part of the RDECOM NCO Professional Development initiative, in which NCOs throughout the command gather each quarter to visit various research and training centers within RDECOM.

“Because RDECOM is so spread out, it’s hard for these NCOs to get a good picture of what the rest of the RDECs (research, development and engineering centers) do,” said RDECOM Operations (G-3) Sgt. Maj. Matt Delay. “We get all the NCOs together, talk about what the other RDECs are doing, show some of the technologies, and we bring everyone on the same sheet of music with the new information that’s being put out by the ‘big Army’.”

In addition to touring facilities at Picatinny and ARDEC, the group went on Dec. 9 for a historical tour of George Washington’s winter headquarters in Morristown and the soldier’s camp in Jockey Hollow.

Since most of the Revolutionary War was fought in the warmer months, Washington chose Morristown as his winter headquarters from 1779 to 1780 because the area had many strategic and logistical advantages.

“We wanted a place for the NCOs visit where you could actually be in December when Washington moved his army here, and we wanted a place where we could talk about logistics, particularly related to getting supplies to the troops and the issues involved,” said RDECOM historian Jeff Smart.