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2002 Greatest Inventions Program: Army Materiel Command (AMC) Recognizes Soldier Systems Center for Innovation, Creativity.

Three of eight Natick Research, Development, and Engineering Center nominations were selected by AMC in the 10 Greatest Inventions Program of 2002. These programs showcased Natick's best technology solutions for warfighters. A ceremony at the Soldier Systems Center on Dec. 11, 2003, honored all the nominees along with the three winning products. The nominees and their winning products were also recognized at a separate ceremony on Nov. 10, 2003, at Fort Belvoir, Va. Certificates of appreciation were presented to all nominated employees.

The three Natick selections receiving top honors were Interceptor Body Armor; the Modular Integrated Communication Helmet (MICH)/Advanced Combat Helmet; and Micro Climate Cooling Body Garment, all from the Individual Protection Directorate (IPD), and were on display at the ceremony.

"It's tough to calculate the number of lives saved with the Interceptor Body Armor," said Robert Kinney, Director, IPD, who estimated that dozens of lives have been saved. Kinney said the MICH also is responsible for saving lives and has more than a 90 percent approval rating by soldiers. It is a good example, he added, of a product that started as a Special Operations Forces item and transitioned to the Army. The cooling garment, according to Kinney, is one of the major significant results of a microclimate cooling research program in the last 20 years. Worn in conjunction with the microclimate cooling system as a part of the Air Warrior program, Kinney said that helicopter pilots now can fly for prolonged periods of time in full chemical/biological protective clothing, which has never been done. "It's significant in that it puts microclimate cooling on the map," Kinney said. "Those who selected these products were part of the operational community ... It's no wonder that those programs that are making a big impact today are those that were awarded this honor," he concluded.

Other nominations from Natick included the Dynamic Moisture Permeation Cell from the Science & Technology Directorate. This is a patented device that provides the ability to test clothing breathability and is now used within the government and throughout the protective clothing and sporting goods industries to quantify clothing performance. From the Airdrop Directorate, nominations were the Rough Terrain Cargo Parachute; Micro Rappel System; Screamer System; and Ripcord Grip Insert for the Modified Improved Reserve Parachute System.

The rough terrain parachute enables military and civilian firefighters to affordably and effectively drop equipment and supplies at low altitudes through trees and other obstacles, while the Micro Rappel System offers a very compact rappelling and safety tool for soldiers and safety personnel (e.g. mountain rescue). The Screamer is a low-cost, high-altitude deployable autonomous airdrop system used for accurate positioning of critical re-supply and sustainment payloads. The Grip Insert provides added protection against possible inadvertent activation of the reserve parachute during inflight door check procedures by an airborne jumpmaster, following a number of jumpmaster extraction incidents over the past two years. Since fielding the grip inserts, no further extractions have been reported.

The complete list of Natick Soldier Center nominees are:

Modular Integrated Communications Helmet (MICH), Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) (TC-2000 Ballistic Helmet) -- Rick Elder, Mike Rowan, Scott Bennet, George Schultheiss, Norm Fanning, Army Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Brad Halling, Army Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Nacy, MSA

Cooling/Heating Body Garment and Method of Manufacturing -- Steven Szczesuil, Roger Masadi, Matthew Correa, Brad Laprise, Walter Teal, Lynne Hennessey

Interceptor Multiple Threat Body Armor -- James Mackiewicz, Deirdre Townes, Gary Proulx, Victor Palumbo, James Zheng

Clothing Breathability Tester -- Phillip Gibson, Cyrus Kendrick, Donald Rivin

Ripcord Grip Insert (RGI) for the Modified Improved Reserve Parachute System -- Gary Thibault, Arthur Phelps, Junior Christmas, Edward Spaulding, Andrew Simpson, Randall Natches

Dual Use Military Mobility System -- James Sadeck

Screamer System -- Joe McGrath (USARIEM), Justin Barber, Richard Benney, Ted Strong, Bruce Markell

Selectively Permeable Membrane Based Chemical/Biological Protective Field Duty Uniform -- Quoc Truong, Eugene Wilusz

(Diane Nyren/AMSSB-RSC-P(N)/DSN 256-4899/e-mail:
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Title Annotation:Acquisition & Logistics Excellence
Publication:Defense AT & L
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2004
Previous Article:2004 Air Force Acquisition Training Managers Conference.
Next Article:Subject: David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award Nominations.

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