Continuous service: Air Combat Integrator served in uniform prior to career at YPG
Conducting natural environment testing in the most extreme hot weather conditions requires the concerted efforts of rugged professionals.
U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) boasts many hundreds of such people, and David Bates’ deployments to the Middle East while in uniform gave him particular experience in what it takes to succeed here.
Born in Turkey to a Turkish Air Force officer father and an American mother who worked as a Department of Defense contractor and was descended from a prominent military family, Bates grew up in Santa Monica, Calif. and joined the Army in 2006, at the height of the surge in Iraq.
“The Army really changed my life in a lot of different ways. It was definitely the best decision I ever made. I was a good fit, but I also had a lot of growing up to do and I think the Army was what I needed to mold me into that.”
After his enlistment, he earned a degree in electrical engineering from California State University— Northridge and sought employment outside of the Los Angeles area. It was then that he first heard of an Army proving ground that needed engineers.
“I never heard of YPG while I was in uniform, but I definitely utilized some of the equipment. A lot of the equipment that has come through here I’ve seen downrange and have experienced some of the upgrades that came about from YPG testing.”
He had other job offers, but YPG was an easy choice.
“I was right back in the desert and serving the Department of the Army. I wanted to be on the helping end of it, helping to improve things. Seeing what the Yuma Proving Ground did for the military and what the mission is here really inspired me.”
His work in the Instrumentation Division of the Engineering Support Branch earned high plaudits, and he now works as a Cross Functional Team Integrator in the Air Combat
Systems Directorate. He was Yuma Test Center’s lead coordinator in the inaugural Project Convergence 22 Technology Gateway event last autumn.
“It was a humbling experience and definitely a fun experience,” he said. “When you look at the large picture of what Project Convergence and specifically Technology
Gateway is for the Army, it really is very exciting: you are part of the transformation of the Army.”
“He’s an individual who isn’t afraid of a challenge and will jump right in with both feet to solve any problem
you give him,” said Jeff Rogers,
Air Combat Systems Directorate director. “Sometimes even when he isn’t delegated a responsibility, he’ll try to find a solution to a problem. Those are the kinds of people we need.”
He enjoys designing electrical circuits and fishing for recreation. He has no plans to leave YPG.
“I could do without the heat, but I certainly do enjoy the mission here. There are some very knowledgeable, driven individuals here that I can learn from and grow with. I love my country and what I do.”