2009 NDIA Award Winners


2009 Chinn Award:  Joel M. Goldman
Each year at the NDIA Small Arms Annual Meeting, the George M. Chinn Award is presented annually to honor a government or industry individual who, in the opinion of the Small Arms Systems Division Executive Board, has made significant contributions to the field of small arms and/or infantry weapons.

Joel M. Goldman has devoted almost forty years in the pursuit of better ways to design, develop, and manufacture small arms weapons, ammunition, propellant and explosives.  Joel has had a long and diversified career working for the US Government.  His career began working as an engineer working on research and development related to small arms propellants.  He worked on the development of a Pilot Line for ball propellant at Badger AAP.

Other notable programs that Joel was involved with as Chief of the Joint Service Small Arms (JSSAP) Program Office included: the Advanced Combat Rifle Assessment, in which four weapons concepts were tested against the baseline M16A2 rifle.  Ammunition Concepts included a caseless ball concept, a brass-cased flechette concept, a duplex concept and plastic-cased flechette concept.  The results of the test failed to demonstrate an increase in hit probability over the M16A2 under the stress conditions of the test.

The next major programs Joel was involved with as the Chief of the JSSAP Office were Technology Objective Programs such as the Objective Individual Combat Weapon (OICW) and the Objective Crew Served Weapon (OCSW) Program.  The OICW introduced technology such as miniature electronic time fuzes and small caliber air-bursting munitions.  It also introduced integrated range-finding, sensors, ballistic computer fuze setter technology and adjusted aim point fire control.  The OCSW introduced technology to include air-bursting munitions in a crew-served configuration, new recoil mitigation, self-correcting fuzing, and Laser Steering target tracking.

Under Joel’s direction, JSSAP conducted a series of assessments for technology work to include: modified bullets and propellants; alternate cartridge case materials; alternate weapons mechanisms; miniature electronic time fuzes; advanced laser range finders; individual/vehicle mounted fire control systems and MEMS safe and arm devices.

The current major project under Joel’s direction at JSSAP is Lightweight Small Arms Technologies.  The joint program is an effort to design and develop lightweight ammunition and weapons, while maintaining or improving the lethality and reliability over the current small arms weapons.  The program is evaluating caseless ammunition and case telescoped ammunition being fired from a lightweight machine gun.  Modeling and simulation are being used extensively throughout the program for designing, prototyping and testing the ammunition and weapons concepts as well as the integrated system.  Value to the warfighter include: weight reduction of 40% for the ammunition and 35% for the weapon as well as reduced volume, improved training and maintenance and a decreased logistics burden.

Joel M. Goldman has devoted almost forty years to making significant contributions to the field of small arms.  He starts each day thinking of ways to improve the equipment in the hands of our soldiers.  His life-long commitment to small arms is evident and therefore is a deserving recipient of the 2009 Chinn Award.

What is the Chinn Award?
The George M. Chinn Award is presented annually to honor a government or industry individual who, in the opinion of the Small Arms Systems Division Executive Board, has made significant contributions to the field of small arms and/or infantry weapons systems.  A significant contribution is considered to be a creative invention, new design or innovative concept in small arms weapons, ammunition or ancillary equipment that provides an advancement in the state-of-the-art or capability enhancement that clearly benefits the warfighting or general military capability of the United States.  The Chinn Award may also be conferred as recognition to an individual who has performed sustained superior service in a career field of science, engineering, test and evaluation, manufacturing, program management, academic study and research, publishing or maintenance relating to military small arms or infantry weapons.

The Chinn Award is named in honor of Lt. Col. George M. Chinn, a career Marine Corps officer who dedicated his life to the study, development and refinement of machine gun mechanisms.  Lt. Col. Chinn is remembered for his work as a gun designer and for having compiled a five volume reference work entitled The Machine Gun.

Past Chinn Award Winners
1988: Thomas E. Cosgrove
1989: James Ackley
1990: John S. Wood, Jr.
1991: Roderic A. Spies
1992: not awarded
1993: Edward C. Ezell
1994: Richard E. Brown
1995: Joseph Unterkofler
1996: C. Reed Knight, Jr.
1997: Robert A. Trifiletti
1998: George E. Kontis
1999: Vernon E. Shisler
2000: Salvatore A. Fanelli
2001: L. James Sullivan
2002: Ernst Mauch
2003: Phil Baker and Georges Chauveheid
2004: Ronnie Barrett
2005: Rich Audette
2006: Richard Swan
2007: Bill Dittrich
2008: Troy Smith
2009: Joel Goldman

2009 Ambrose Industry Award:  Otis Technology Inc.
At the tender age of 15, when most girls are more concerned about their looks and boys, Doreen Marks Garrett, founder and CEO, was enjoying one of her numerous interests; hunting with her father, Jerry Williams.  It was during this hunting trip that she missed a step, stumbled and fell.  The muzzle of her rifle impacted the soft ground and was plugged with dirt.  Not being able to clean the rifle, her day of hunting was ruined.  But this misadventure has changed the way the armed forces and hundreds of thousands of sportsmen and women world wide clean their weapons.  Garrett was determined to find a way to prevent any possibility of having another hunting trip ruined, so she set to work trying to develop her own gun cleaning kit that she could carry and have available when and if she needed.

In 1985 when she was 16, and after numerous trials and failures, Doreen Garrett designed the first breech to muzzle cleaning kit; the first of the numerous Otis cleaning kits to be developed.  This first kit was called “The Whole Kit and Caboodle”.  This same year, Garrett attended her first SHOT Show in Orlando, Florida.  Unable to gain access due to her age, she returned to her hotel and changed clothes, added makeup and returned to the convention center.  Access was granted and when she departed, she did so with orders for three hundred kits.  Doreen Garrett, her mother and father sat to work at the kitchen table manufacturing the kits so she could fill the orders.  In 1990, Garrett got her first Small Business Administration loan for $97,000 to renovate her parent’s barn enabling her to move the expanding operation from the kitchen table.  1997, with six employees, Garrett moved the operation from the family barn to an abandoned hardware store in Lyons Falls, New York.  Then in 2005, production moved to a new 43,000 square foot plant.  The plant has since expanded twice: a 23,643 square foot addition was added in early 2008, and most recently, finalizing a 16,000 square foot, state of the art warehouse and automatic warehouse system.

Today, almost 25 years, since that fateful slip and numerous pitfalls, Garrett, with the help of her family, has revolutionized how we clean our weapons and has become one of the premier producers of firearms cleaning products in the world.  Otis Breech-to-Muzzle Cleaning systems are widely regarded by experts as the most advanced gun gleaning systems in the world.  Their product is in service today with the US Armed Forces, Law Enforcement professionals, and the worlds’ best hunters and marksmen.  Otis Technology, Inc. has been operating for 25 years and Garrett has received numerous awards along the way, including:

2007: Fast Track 50, ranking 3rd in the over $10 million category;

2007: Automated Best Value System Award presented by the Defense Supply Center Columbus;

2008: recognized as the fastest growing company in Central New York by the Fast Track 50;

2008: Proclamation in Recognition at the Lewis County Court House, Lowville, NY.

Otis Technology currently has specialized cleaning kits for the US Armed Forces that are designed to clean all weapons from caliber .22 up to and including 40mm grenade and supplies tens of thousands of these kits through an active GSA contract to our warriors yearly. Garrett is a customer focused business person and ensures that customer’s desires or concerns are addressed as soon as possible and new items are designed and manufactured, customer tested and made available as soon as possible. Otis’ Breech to Muzzle cleaning philosophy has all but made the old cleaning rods obsolete. The Otis cleaning kits are designed to be inexpensive, compact, light (about 1/2 lb), portable and easy to use, thus ensuring every soldier has the right equipment to keep his weapon clean, lubricated and ready to fire when and if the need arises and, as an added plus, proper cleaning can actually prolong the service life of the weapon.

In 2006 Otis Technology opened a $1.3 million on-site day care center to provided low cost day care for their employees as well as reduced day care cost to residents in Lyons, NY.

Otis Technology has made vast advancements over the past 25 years to become the largest manufacturer of gun cleaning products in the United States. Otis holds more than 35 patents, 14 trademarks and sells gun cleaning kits worldwide to military and law enforcement agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. Their annual sales were in an excess of $40 million this past year.

Otis has demonstrated that they are deserving of the prestigious Ambrose Industry Award.

2009 Hathcock Award:  Robert J. Thomas, U.S. Navy (retired)
(Picture not available at press time)

Robert J. Thomas is considered by many to be the Founding Father of Joint Special Operations Weapons.

In the late 1970s, Special Operations Forces (SOF) first began using flashlights and infrared aiming lasers on guns, in addition to limited numbers of night vision goggles and night vision sights provided by the parent services.  Not until 1986 would Congress require the President to create a unified combatant command specifically for global special operations roles, missions, and tasks, and, unique among other combatant commands, that would control its own resources, research, development and acquisition.  Until USSOCOM unified Army, Navy and Air Force Special Operations units, the weaponry allocations for units were a systemic nightmare.  Every SOF unit had its own allotment of non-standard peculiar weapons and accessories; more than 120 different varieties of small arms existed in Special Forces, Rangers and SEALs.  Their “homegrown” lasers, flashlights and silencers were rudimentary and most could not stand up to weapon recoil nor combat environments.  Most commercial aiming accessories of the time were not “ruggedized” and often failed firing combat insertions and gunfights.  In short, SOF small arms and aiming devices were ineffective and unsupportable.  The first USSOCOM Commander, General James Lindsay, U.S. Army, set about resolving small arms and aiming equipment inconsistencies.  He established the joint SOF weapons and aiming systems that would be standardized across SOF forces.  A destructive Capabilities Master Plan unified ground combat weapons, ammunition and sighting systems under a coherent joint roadmap.  Robert J. Thomas was instrumental in the formulations of this plan, particularly for Sniper Rifles, the SOF Offensive Handgun and Stand-off Weapons.  Following this capability planning effort, USSOCOM developed joining requirements documents for united systems.  During the next 15 years, USSOCOM established several Joint Special Operations small arms and weapons programs at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division, Crane, Indiana, that would directly address the Operational Requirements articulated by Robert Thomas.

MK23 Mod 0 Offensive Handgun Weapon System (OHWS) “SOCOM Pistol”
Robert Thomas was the operationally experienced shooter behind the requirement for the Mark 23 handgun.  Over 2,500 weapons were fielded to US SOF units as a result of this successful program.  While the Mark 23 handgun was not accepted by many SOF units (due to its size and bulk), Thomas’ contention that to be effective, a handgun must deliver a larger surface area, higher in velocity projectile than the 9mm NATO and the .45 ACP ammunition has been recently validated.  Current commanders and forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are demanding a more compact handgun that will deliver the accuracy and lethality of the MK 23.  Additionally, another result of the OHWS program was the AN/PEQ-6 Laser Aiming Module, a standardized handgun aiming module that is still thriving today and is the foundation for all modern light and laser aiming device.

MK11, MK12, MK13, and MK15 Sniper Systems
Robert Thomas was the person that shaped the requirements for the SOF family of sniper rifles.  His experience as a champion long range shooter and operational sniper formed the basis for writing Operational Requirements for light, medium and heavy sniper rifles.  His early articulated Sniper Rifle Operational Requirements were the genesis of the currently proliferated Joint SOF Sniper Rifles and have resulted in the U.S. Army adoption for semiautomatic sniper systems chambered for the 7.62mm bolt-action .300 Winchester Magnums and bolt-action rifles for the .50 caliber BMG.  Robert Thomas could well be called the father of the modern family of SOF joint sniper rifles.

Continued Service to the Global War on Terrorism
Robert Thomas continues to serve with distinction fully researching weapon trends and aiming devices being utilized in current conflicts.  Thomas has evaluated SOPMOD and SOF weapons aiming doctrine through the eyes of a SOF operational sniper.  His experience in long range shooting and marksmanship in all operational arenas from the Arctic mountains, to Equatorial jungles, through the deserts of the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, has provided invaluable insight as to the most effective employment of current weapons and technologies.  Robert Thomas is presently employed in both the SOPMOD Program for small arms training and doctrine development, as well as the SOF Weapons Program, providing expertise to the Precision Sniper Rifle project.

The operational experiences that Robert Thomas gained as a Naval Special Warfare Sniper (and father of the NSW Sniper Course), Officer in Charge of the Navy Rifle and Pistol Team, military competitive shooter and weapons development officer, provided him with unique insight into the operational requirements for Special Operations Forces long-range weapons and aiming devices.  His dedication to duty and contributions to United States Special Operations Forces small arms capabilities are unmatched.  The years of Naval Special Warfare operations and depth of knowledge that Robert Thomas brings to all of the SOPMOD SOF Weapons programs is superb, but perhaps his greatest contribution lies in the stream of graduates of the Naval Special Warfare Sniper Course, who continue to perform superbly in all operational theatres of the world.  These snipers best represent the Robert Thomas philosophy: “A SOF warrior cannot carry enough ammunition to ever miss a shot.”  Robert Thomas most recently was entrusted with the new USSOCOM development project for sniper laser aiming and range-finding.

Navy Cross: Armed action RVN;
Bronze Star (Combat V): Armed action RVN;
Purple Heart: Wounded in action RVN;
Navy Commendation Medal (Gold Star in lieu of second award) in recognition for development of NSW small arms, Navy JSSAP representative and leadership of Navy Rifle and Pistol Team;
Meritorious Service Medal for development of Strike-Naval Special Warfare Tactics and Doctrine;
Distinguished Master Rifle and Pistol Shooter;
President’s Hundred Rifle Shooter (four times)

Combat and Military Accomplishments
1967: Graduated Underwater Demolitions Team (UDT/R) training and assigned to UDT-22;
1968: Assigned SEAL Team 2; Ordnance Petty Officer; Stoner Armorer;
1969: Deployed to the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) as Detachment ALPHA Seventh Platoon Ordnance/Platoon Sniper;
1969: March – shot down by enemy ground fire while conducting sniper reconnaissance aboard a Navy Seawolf and awarded Navy Cross for subsequent defense of helicopter crew;
1970: Instructor SEAL Team 2 small arms training, selected for the All Navy Rifle and Pistol Team;
1977: Navy Representative to JSSAP and validated Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) requirement;
1978: Attended Army (Rock Island) and Navy (Crane) Armorer’s Courses;
1979: Wrote Operational Requirement and developed the .50 caliber Special Application Sniper Rifle (SASR);
1980: Wrote Operational Requirement for Naval Special Warfare .300 Win Mag Sniper Rifle and developed final loads within Judge Advocate General (JAG) guidelines;
1981: Developed and instituted Special Air Service, Australian Army Sniper course;
1983: Developed and instituted Naval Special Warfare Sniper Course;
1984: Wrote Naval Special Warfare Patrol Leaders hand book;
1984: Wrote Operational Requirement for Sniper Security Rifle and developed an effective, rugged, scoped M14 Sniper Security Rifle;
1985: Wrote Naval Special Warfare Sniper Manual and Winter Warfare Manual;
1986: Wrote Operational Requirement for Naval Special Warfare Stand Off –Weapon Systems and validated the Carl Gustav 84MM recoilless rifle;
1993: Wrote Operational Requirement for Mark 23 SOF Offensive Handgun and associated special ammunition and validated the handgun and ammunition through final acceptance;
2007: Wrote the new field combat manual for the M4A1 Carbine using SOPMOD accessories.

Marksmanship/Match Accomplishments
1970: Atlantic Fleet/All Navy/Inter-Service/National Matches and earned points toward Distinguished in Excellence-In-Competition Rifle Matches at all levels;
1971: Pacific Fleet/National Championships; Distinguished Excellence-In-Competition Rifle;
1978-81: Won Pacific Fleet/All Navy Rifle and Pistol Championships and Distinguished Excellence-In-Competition Pistol;
1982-1983: Won Western Australian Service Rifle and Pistol Championships;
1984-1993: Won Pacific Fleet and All Navy Rifle and Pistol Championships.

The Carlos N. Hathcock II Award is presented to recognize an individual, who, in the opinion of the Small Arms Section Steering Committee, Armaments Division, National Defense Industrial Association, has made significant contributions in operational employment and tactics of small arms weapons systems which have impacted on the readiness and capabilities of the United States military or law enforcement.  A significant contribution is considered to be: superior performance of duties in an operational environment or the development of tactics or training.

What is the Hathcock Award?
The Hathcock Award is named in honor of Gunnery Sergeant Carlos N. Hathcock II, a career Marine who dedicated his life to the service of this country in both the military and law enforcement communities.  He was honest, tactful, considerate, courageous, quietly proud and determined in all things and all places from the range to the battlefield.  “The Gunny” not only distinguished himself in combat as a scout-sniper but also as a competitive marksman and trainer.  In his capacity as a trainer he not only significantly impacted the current United States Marine Corps Scout-Sniper program but also influenced the sniper programs of the other military services and similar law enforcement programs nationwide.

Past Winners
1999: Carlos Hathcock
2000: Charles B. Mawhinney
2001: Bart Bartholomew
2002: Jim Owens
2003: Larry Vickers
2004: Steve Holland
2005: Pat Mitternight
2006: Allen Boothby
2007: American Snipers.org
2008: J. Buford Boone
2009: Robert J. Thomas