Colonel Paul J. Kassebaum, Commander
Colonel Paul J. Kassebaum is a 2003 graduate of the University of Florida where he earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree. He received a direct commission into the United States Army as a Pharmacy Officer (67E) in the Medical Service Corps in August 2003.
Upon completion of the Army Medical Department Officer Basic Course, he was assigned to Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis, Washington, where he completed his pharmacy practice residency. Following the residency, he completed assignments of increasing complexity and responsibility within pharmacies at Fort Gordon, Georgia; Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; and Fort Knox, Kentucky. During his assignment to Fort Leonard Wood in 2009, he deployed with the 47th Combat Support Hospital to Mosul, Iraq, where he completed a 10-month tour as the Chief, Pharmacy Services. He earned board certification in pharmacotherapy in 2005.
From 2014-2016 he completed a broadening assignment at Human Resources Command where he served as Assignment Officer for 67E/F/G & 71A/B/E/F officers. From there he was assigned to MAMC at Joint Base Lewis-McChord as Chief, Department of Pharmacy. Colonel Kassebaum commanded the Fort Lee Medical Department Activity and Kenner Army Health Clinic from 2017-2019. He is grateful to have had the privilege of leading nearly 500 staff in their mission to enhance Soldier and medical force readiness through the delivery of exceptional and compassionate patient-centered care to the Fort Lee community. His most recent assignment was Chief, Department of Pharmacy at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, and Regional Health Command Europe Pharmacy Consultant.
Colonel Kassebaum is a graduate of Captain’s Career Course, Intermediate Level Education, Defense Strategy Course, and Army War College. He earned a Master’s Degree in Pharmaceutical Policy and Outcomes from the University of Florida and Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies from the Army War College.
Colonel Kassebaum’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (five oak leaf clusters), Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal (two oak leaf clusters), Meritorious Unit Citation (one oak leaf cluster), Superior Unit Award (two oak leaf clusters), Iraq Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon (numeral 2), Expert Field Medical Badge, Air Assault Badge, and German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge (Gold). He is a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit.
MSG Joshua S. Strauss, Senior Enlisted Leader
Master Sergeant Strauss is a native of Washington State and a graduate of the George Washington University where he holds an Associate's degree in Medical Laboratory Science. He enlisted in the United States Army in September 2009.
He most recently served as the Enlisted Subject Matter Expert (ESME) and Senior Training Developer for MOS 68K at the United States Army Medical Center of Excellence.
He has served in diverse positions throughout his military career from Medical Company Team and Squad Leader to Medical Detachment (Blood Support) Detachment Sergeant. From 2017-2019 he served as a platform instructor at the Medical Education and Training Campus, Joint-Base San Antonio, Ft. Sam Houston, TX.
He completed one Operation Enduring Freedom combat tour and one humanitarian assistance tour in support of Operation United Assistance in the AFRICOM theater. He has served with the 3rd Infantry Division, 1st Medical Brigade, 86th Combat Support Hospital, 32nd Medical Brigade, and the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence.
Master Sergeant is a graduate of the Warrior Leader Course, the Army Medical Department Advanced Leader Course, the Army Medical Department Senior Leader Course, and the Master Leader Course. He is a nationally certified Medical Laboratory Technician with the American Society for Clinical Pathology.
His awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (1 OLC); the Army Commendation Medal (2 OLC); the Army Achievement Medal (1 SOLC); National Defense Service Medal; the Afghanistan Campaign Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (number 4), the Armed Forces Service Medal; the Army Service Ribbon, and the Non - Article 5 NATO Medal. He also wears the Expert Field Medic Badge, and the U.S. Army Senior Instructor Identification Badge.
COL Mariano T. Mesngon, Jr., Deputy Commander
Colonel Mariano T. Mesngon, Jr., is a native of Guam and a graduate of the University of Guam ROTC program. He originally commissioned into the Army Ordnance Corps in June 1997 but left active duty in 2002 to attend graduate school full-time and pursue his Ph.D. He returned to active duty as a Medical Service Corps officer in 2008.
COL Mesngon assumed duties as the Deputy Commander, US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense in January 2022. Prior to that he served as the Commander, 4-393 Training Support Battalion from January 2020 to January 2022. From July 2018 to November 2019, he served as a Joint Product Manager, Joint Project Manager-CBRN Medical. COL Mesngon deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from November 2013 to June 2014 as the Chief of Admin and Operations, Command Surgeon Cell, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan. COL Mesngon was also a Synchronization Staff Officer in the HQDA DCS G-8. Prior to that he held various AMEDD acquisition, research, development, test, and evaluation leadership positions.
As an Ordnance officer, he served as a platoon leader, company XO, operations officer, and shop officer in the 71st Corps Support BN in Bamberg, Germany. He commanded B Company, 187 Ordnance Battalion in Fort Jackson, SC.
COL Mesngon is a graduate of the Ordnance Officer Basic Course, Combined Logistics Captains Career Course (CLC3), Combined Arms Services Staff School, and the Army Command and General Staff Officer's Course. He holds a B.A. and Ph.D. in biology and achieved DoD Acquisition practitioner certification in Program Management and Science & Engineering and Technical Management.
COL Mesngon's military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (5 OLC), the Joint Service Commendation Medal (2 OLC), the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal (2 OLC), and the Army Staff Identification Badge. COL Mesngon is an Honorable Member in the Order of the Dragon and a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit.
James F. Dillman, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer
Dr. James F. Dillman III is currently the Chief Science Officer at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense. He serves as the Senior Civilian Scientist and oversees a program focused on the research and development of medical countermeasures against chemical and biochemical threats as well as training and education in the management of chemical casualties. He serves as the Command advisor for scientific and research matters related to medical chemical defense.
He served previously as the Director of Research, the Chief of the Science Program Analysis and Integration Office and was a principal investigator in the Cell and Molecular Biology Branch at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense. As a principal investigator, Dr. Dillman oversaw a research group focused on the development of medical countermeasures to chemical warfare agents. His research group utilized transcriptomics, proteomics and molecular approaches to define the molecular and cellular consequences of chemical warfare agent exposure with the goal of identifying therapeutic targets for development of toxicant medical countermeasures.
Dr. Dillman received a B.S. with honors in biology from Lebanon Valley College of Pennsylvania, and his Ph.D. from the Department of Cell Biology at the University of Virginia. He was awarded post-doctoral fellowships from the National Stroke Association and the National Institutes of Health during his time as a research fellow in the Departments of Neurology and Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He joined the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense as a National Research Council Research Associate and subsequently came on staff as a principal investigator in the Applied Pharmacology Branch at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense.
Carter C. Bender, Chief of Staff
Ms. Carter C. Bender currently serves as the Chief of Staff at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense. As such, she oversees the staff functions and provides executive leadership to managers for support services.
Ms. Bender began her federal career in 2005 as an Operations Research Analyst at the United States Army Test and Evaluation Command, where she managed and supervised Information Assurance Task Force assessment teams during major Combatant Command training exercises. Ms. Bender joined the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense as a facilities engineer in 2010 and subsequently became the Chief of Facilities at the Institute.
Ms. Bender received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an M.S. in management from the University of Maryland, University College.
Shane A. Kasten, Ph.D., Director of Research
Dr. Shane A. Kasten is currently the Director of Research at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense. He serves as Chief Scientist and manages the programmatic and scientific enterprise focused on the research and development of medical countermeasures against chemical and biochemical threats to protect Warfighters as well as Civilians. He serves as a Command advisor and oversees the activities of the Medical Toxicology Research Division, Research Support Division, and the Research Development and Integration Office.
He served previously as a Principal Investigator in the Biochemistry and Physiology Department at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense. As a Principal Investigator, Dr. Kasten directed a research group focused on basic and applied research endeavors to develop medical countermeasures to chemical warfare agents. His initial research concentrated on the development and evaluation of candidate enzymes specifically targeted at detoxifying nerve agents in the blood stream of an exposed individual. Later, Dr. Kasten led the development of the ChemDx (aka ChemKast) medical diagnostic device for far-forward fielding on the austere battlefield. He ended is research career with the initial development of a skin disclosure spray prototype, coined SkinKast, designed to rapidly detect and guide stringent decontamination following dermal exposure to a chemical warfare agent.
Dr. Shane A. Kasten received a B.S. and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Kansas State University. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University in the department of Cellular Biology and Toxicology. A second postdoctoral fellowship was completed at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense as an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education participant before taking a position on staff as a Principal Investigator in the Physiology and Immunology Branch at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense.