Honoring Innovation

By October 31, 2016September 3rd, 2018Army ALT Magazine
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The bottom line for winners of the Maj. Gen. Harold “Harry” J. Greene Award? Support the Soldier

by Mr. Brian Beall

A lifesaving medical device, a mobile app that improves Soldier training and a ballistic combat shirt that increases Soldier performance and survivability earned the inaugural Maj. Gen. Harold “Harry” J. Greene Award for Innovation.

Reflecting on the Army’s drive to improve Soldier capabilities in current and future conflicts, Gen. Dennis L. Via, commanding general of U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC), said these awards recognize “solutions that increase efficiencies, strengthen our position and ultimately save lives on the battlefield.”

“We are proud to honor Maj. Gen. Greene with a culture that fosters creative research and aims to empower, unburden and protect the nation’s warfighter,” said Via. On March 16, Via hosted a ceremony for Greene’s widow, Dr. Susan R. Myers, at the Association of the United States Army Global Force Symposium and Exposition in Huntsville, Alabama, to announce the new award and memorialize Greene’s contributions to research, development and cutting-edge warfighter capabilities during his 34 years of service to the Army.

The Maj. Gen. Harold “Harry” J. Greene Award for Innovation recognizes three categories—group, individual – military, and individual – civilian—for innovations fielded in a particular fiscal year. The FY15 winners are:

  • Group: The SAM Junctional Tourniquet, developed at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. Team members include Dr. John F. Kragh Jr., Dr. Michael A. Dubick, Col. (Dr.) Lorne H. Blackbourne, Dr. James E. Johnson, Col. (Dr.) Lance E. Cordoni and Lance Hopman.
  • Individual – military: Capt. Lawrence T. Collins for the MILES Laser Tag Utility, developed at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley Division, Vicksburg, Mississippi.
  • Individual – civilian: Robert DiLalla for the Ballistic Combat Shirt, developed at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC), Natick, Massachusetts.

The innovation award revitalized the Army’s Greatest Invention Program to honor Greene, who served in several leadership positions across the Army’s research, development and acquisition enterprise before he was killed in Afghanistan in August 2014 while serving as the deputy commanding general of the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan.

As deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and simultaneously senior commander of NSRDEC from May 2009 to May 2011, Greene was a proponent of technologies that could give Soldiers the advantage in battle.

Each of the award-winning projects for FY15 brought together experts, materials and processes to develop Army-centric applications that have proven successful in the commercial world.


The MILES Laser Tag Utility app, shown in this screen shot, is available from the Google Play store. It requires no additional hardware or wireless signal connection if used with the infrared port on certain Android-based smartphones. (U.S. Army photo)

MILES Laser Tag Utility app: Individual – military category winner Capt. Lawrence T. Collins, a project engineer who has been with the Army Corps of Engineers’ New Orleans District since May 2015, said his formula for innovation included self-taught skills in programming smartphone apps and the need to fulfill a training capability gap. He recognized the gap during his time at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.

Collins created the app to give Soldiers who were training with MILES—the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System—the ability to test, configure and troubleshoot their equipment. The MILES Laser Tag Utility app can be downloaded from the Google Play store and, using the infrared port on certain Android-based smartphones, requires no additional hardware or wireless signal connection.

In a statement commending Collins’ creation, Maj. Gen. Michael C. Wehr, commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley Division, said, “Having been a platoon leader in the opposing force at the National Training Center for 28 months, I and other leaders understand the utility of this capability.” Wehr said teams at combat training centers using the MILES Laser Tag Utility app can “utilize downtime more effectively.”

Ballistic Combat Shirt: Individual – civilian winner Robert DiLalla of NSRDEC leveraged multiple components across the Army’s research and development programs to develop the new combat shirt. DiLalla is a supervisory general engineer at NSRDEC and leader of the Infantry Combat Equipment Team.

During peak deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, Soldiers’ protective gear expanded in number of parts and weight. In FY12, NSRDEC engaged in a deliberate science and technology initiative intended to revolutionize body armor architecture and thus enhance Soldier performance and survivability. With the support of the Program Executive Office for Soldier since 2014, DiLalla and a team of scientists and engineers integrated more than four types of high-performance materials created through research by the athletic apparel industry and the Army to produce the Ballistic Combat Shirt.

In a statement endorsing DiLalla’s efforts, NSRDEC Director Douglas A. Tamilio said the Ballistic Combat Shirt “significantly increases the protection and flexibility of our personal protective ensemble, ensuring we are giving our Soldiers the edge they need.” The Ballistic Combat Shirt will be part of the Army’s Torso and Extremities Protection system, slated for fielding in 2019, which incorporates lightweight materials such as polyethylene—a type of plastic—instead of heavier Kevlar for lower-risk missions.


The Ballistic Combat Shirt, which provides Soldiers with better range of motion, less bulk and increased mobility, is the result of NSRDEC research using various high-performance materials created through athletic apparel industry and Army efforts. NSRDEC undertook the research in response to an increase in the weight and complexity of Soldiers’ battlefield protective gear. (U.S. Army photo courtesy of PEO Soldier)

SAM Junctional Tourniquet: The winning submission in the group category was designed by a team from the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research. The device was conceived through partnerships with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, Wake Forest University and SAM Medical Products, driven by data on recurring problems for medics responding to combat trauma.

“Hemorrhage remains the leading cause of death among combat casualties in conventional warfare,” said Dr. John F. Kragh Jr., an orthopedic surgeon and researcher at the institute. Kragh, a retired Army colonel who served for 30 years and returned to Army medicine as a civilian, brought together a multidisciplinary team of experts to develop the tourniquet. In a case report of its first use on the battlefield, in January 2014, the team described the basis for developing the tourniquet. It was the story of Sgt. 1st Class Kurt Schmid, a special operations forces medic who tried every means available to him to save the life of Cpl. Jamie Smith after Smith was wounded on the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia. The story became part of the book and movie “Black Hawk Down,” and the experience led Kragh and team to focus their efforts on creating a tourniquet that could “work for the Cpl. Smiths of the world,” in the words of Kragh, while providing caregivers a quick, efficient tool to address battlefield wounds.

In January 2014, an Afghan National Army soldier was shot in the upper thigh in a village in Afghanistan and later transferred to the Afghan side of the Combined United States – Afghan National Army Aid Station for further treatment. Following repeated attempts to stop the bleeding from the soldier’s wound, U.S. Army medics applied the SAM Junctional Tourniquet in under three minutes, ultimately saving the Soldier, who then was able to receive substantial blood transfusions and treatment at an Afghan hospital. Kragh and his team anticipate that including the SAM Junctional Tourniquet in the Army Forward Resuscitative and Surgical Team’s kit will improve survival rates. Kragh’s team cited a study of combat casualty care from 2001 to 2011 during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to emphasize that of the preventable deaths, 19.2 percent were due to junctional wounds. Kragh said the team’s focus is on that group and that they will continue to monitor battlefield casualty statistics.


The SAM Junctional Tourniquet, being fielded by the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency (USAMMA), is designed to save warfighters from bleeding to death on the battlefield. Led by a team based at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, the development of the junctional tourniquet allows medical personnel to stop bleeding in the groin or armpit area, where they cannot use the Combat Application Tourniquet. The tourniquet can be positioned in about 60 seconds—a crucial factor for combat medics who only have mere minutes to save the life of a fellow warfighter who is hemorrhaging. (Photo by Ellen Crown, USAMMA Public Affairs)

Patrick O’Neill, chief technology officer for AMC, said all three winning submissions embody the strategic and tactical thinking that Greene applied to the Army’s materiel development and procurement programs.

“The 2015 winners of the Maj. Gen. Harold ‘Harry’ J. Greene Award for Innovation are truly representative of the diverse research and development efforts taking place across the Army in support of the Soldier,” he said. “This award honors those innovative ideas and the Army Soldiers and civilians who work tirelessly to ensure that Soldiers are better protected and more capable, and it stands as a reminder to our workforce that their efforts save lives and improve Army readiness for today, tomorrow and the future.” AMC initiated the award program on behalf of the Army.

Future Greene awards will recognize Soldiers and civilians who contribute to Army science, technology, research and development, and whose efforts foster innovation and excellence throughout the materiel enterprise.

The nomination window for the FY16 Maj. Gen. Harold “Harry” J. Greene Award for Innovation opened Sept.15 and closes Dec. 15.

For more information, go to http://www.amc.army.mil/amc/agiap.html.

MR. BRIAN BEALL is an analyst supporting AMC’s chief technology officer for basic research for BRTRC Federal Solutions. Within the Chief Technology Office, he supports AMC’s Maj. Gen. Harold “Harry” J. Greene Award for Innovation and the Army Innovation Campaign. He has an international MBA from the University of Memphis and a B.A. in foreign languages for commerce from the University of North Alabama.

This article was originally published in the October – December 2016 issue of Army AL&T magazine.

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