The NDIA Awards
By Dan Shea
National Defense Industrial Association’s Small Arms Group
NDIA started out in 1919 as the Army Ordnance Association and through various mergers over the last century, in 1997 was finalized as the NDIA. There are a variety of divisions, and the Small Arms Group has several Executive Board/Steering Committee meetings per year, and an annual meeting that rotates around the United States. The Small Arms Committee of the Armaments Division is dedicated to insuring that the U.S. Military men and women have the weapons they need for direct use on the battlefield. The small arms family of weapons extends from self-defense handguns to offensive, longer-ranged, crew-served systems. Through continuous interchange of information in regularly scheduled conferences and direct assistance to users and suppliers alike, the Committee insures the continued improvement of the weapons themselves along with their associated ammunition and support devices. The Committee’s primary concentrations are individual and crew-served weapons, ammunition, ancillary support equipment, training devices, and new technology. www.ndia.org
NDIA Small Arms Group’s Col. George M. 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 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 & evaluation, manufacturing, program management, academic study & research, publishing or maintenance relating to military small arms or infantry weapons. The Chinn Award is named in honor of Lt. Colonel George M. Chinn, a career Marine Corps officer who dedicated his life to the study, development and refinement of machine gun mechanisms. Lt. Colonel Chinn is remembered for his work as a gun designer and for having compiled a five volume reference work entitled, The Machine Gun.”
Past Recipients of the Chinn Award:
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 &
2004: Ronnie Barrett
2005: Rich Audette
2006: Richard Swan
2007: Bill Dittrich
2008: Troy Smith
2009: Joel M. Goldman
2010: Frank Puzycki
2011: Chuck Buxton
2012: Dan Haywood
2013: Rudy Nedelka
2014: George Niewenhous
2015: Jim Schatz
2016 Chinn Award goes to Dr. Philip H. Dater:
Dr. Philip H. “Doc” Dater started his military service as a physician in the early 1960s, but began his career in suppressor/weapon design much earlier than that. His first designs in the 1950s were rudimentary in nature, related more to suppressing his collection of machine guns than industry oriented work. In the mid-1970s, Doc started in seriously on improving the performance of suppressed 22 caliber pistols and rifles, and formed AWC- Automatic Weapons Company- in 1976. His intention was to improve performance in the suppressors, and he succeeded in that- rebuilding countless 1960-70 era suppressors that were in existing inventories with his newer, innovative designs. By the mid-1980s, AWC had expanded, and formed up into AWC Systems Technology, with the late Lynn McWilliams. He later formed up Gemtech with Greg Latka, and continues Antares Technologies, his R&D company. “Doc” was always a presence at military and civilian shows worldwide, wherever suppressors were being tested or sold.
Some Highlights of “Doc” Dater’s career regarding the small arms community:
Redesigned the Vietnam use, disposable MAC integrally suppressed .22 Ruger pistol for improved sound signature, significantly enhanced accuracy, made a more compact design, and added the ability for the end user to easily rebuild to new performance standards with simple tools and readily available materials. (1976-1977). Although archaic technology today, it remains one of the most compact and quiet integral .22 auto pistols. This was produced from 1977 through 1993.
Designed and built several prototype disposable (and flame consumable) suppressors in both .22LR and 9mm. The project never moved forward due to lack of demand in the civilian market with the $200 tax and the small military use possibility. All were destroyed by incineration after prototype testing and information gathering.
Pioneered the inclusion of a detailed use and maintenance manual for suppressor users, increasing awareness of how to extend the life and use of the suppressor.
Pioneered the use of high speed video cameras (capable of 150,000 frame/sec but usually shot at 5-10,000 frame/second with microsecond shutter speeds for best resolution) for analysis of the effect of suppressors on their host weapon and documentation of the effect of the suppressor on bullet flight. It was through the use of this camera that Doc verified how the recoil booster (Neilsen Device or Linear Inertial Decoupler) actually works, and analyzed the split chamber functioning of the Russian PSS captive piston assassination pistol.
”Doc” Dater has traveled extensively throughout the world and had access to numerous non-public collections to examine, study, and test silencers and silenced weapons. Many of these weapons had never been seen in the Western world and very few had been subjected to accurate sound testing utilizing equipment specified in MIL-STD-1474D.
He produced numerous papers describing the testing results of some of these weapons as well as basic silencer principles. Doc shared his knowledge and experience with many in the community, on the quality and effectiveness of foreign suppressed weapons our troops are facing, as well as using.
For the past nine years, Doc has conducted 2-day seminars several times per year, discussing the history and identification of various silencers. The seminars also include the principles of operation, testing protocols, material analysis, and issues involving the design process. The seminars target primarily forensic scientists, armorers (military and law enforcement), and procurement personnel, and numerous of Gemtech’s competitors have attended. In a true spirit of being an elder statesman, “Doc” taught all who came to the courses in the hope of serving the end users better, and shared the knowledge with all. The seminars do not instruct how to build, but rather emphasize the thought processes necessary for design, along with history, technology, and testing protocols. There is live testing involved.
In 1996 for a solicitation, Doc took a basic design with Gemtech partner Greg Latka and tweaked the design to significantly improve the sound signature and life expectancy on a major government competition, creating the M4-96D suppressor, one of the most popular M16 suppressors in use by police and foreign military groups. Although Gemtech did not receive the award on the US contract, this was their most popular 5.56x45mm quick-detach suppressor until it was replaced with a slightly lighter and more compact version in 2006.
Pioneered the concept of actual port peak pressure measurements in suppressor entrance chambers to determine suppressor safety factors when using various weapon/ammunition combinations and duty cycles. Gemtech will not release for production a suppressor that does not have a safety factor of at least 2 on what is determined to be the minimum barrel length of a host weapon, and “Doc” has championed the safety aspects for all manufacturersand end users.
Using his experience with port pressure measurements in suppressor entrance chambers, Doc undertook a study to determine the peak pressures of the 5.56 M855 round. The studies determined that M855 performs best in a 20” barrel, and has less than ideal performance within a 14.5” barrel, confirming the results of a USMC study on the same issue. Within the same study, the effects of port pressure, perceived muzzle blast (when measured in decibels) and the effects of a short barreled weapon was examined. The outcome showed that short barreled rifle coupled with a suppressor require different physical requirements (of the suppressor) than a longer barreled weapon, thereby empirically confirming industry opinions on the issue.
“Doc” has also helped publicize and explain the debilitating effects on our veterans and police officers of firing weapons unsuppressed. It has been his mantra for many years now, to publicize the Veterans Administration’s issues with veteran’s hearing loss. Preventing loss through proper use of firearms sound suppressors is one excellent alternative, and “Doc” has been tireless in promoting this information to the benefit of our veterans.
“Doc” Dater has mentored many in the small arms community over the last three decades, and today is a senior partner of Gemtech working in Research & Development, and testing. He is the owner of Antares Technologies Inc. which consults in small arms and suppressor design, and is a writer for Small Arms Review and Small Arms Defense Journal. In the spirit of the Chinn Award’s namesake, Dr. Philip H. Dater has been a designer, innovator, teacher, writer, mentor, and explorer in the world of small arms. “Doc’s” willingness to share with others the knowledge he’s distilled of principles, history, and technology (including some of his competitors) over the last half century, and his ability to explain principles in a simplistic manner, is proof of this gentleman’s fitness for inclusion as NDIA’s 2016 Colonel George M. Chinn Awardee.
If you enjoy a good read, then go online to www.smallarmsreview.com and search for The Interview: Dr. Philip H. Dater. It’s in four parts and includes a rollicking, rambling world traveling adventure with Doc.
NDIA Small Arms Group’s Gunnery Sgt Carlos N. Hathcock Award:
“The Hathcock Award is presented to recognize an individual who, in the opinion of the Small Arms Division Executive Board, has made significant contributions in operational employment and tactics of small arms weapons systems which have impacted the readiness and capabilities of the U.S. military or law enforcement. A significant contribution is considered to be a superior performance of duties in an operational environment or the development of tactics or training. The Hathcock Award is named in honor of Gunnery Sergeant Carlos N. Hathcock, II, USMC, 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 RECIPIENTS OF THE HATHCOCK AWARD
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: Lt. Commander Robert J. Thomas
2010: Jeff Hoffman
2011: SGM Jason Beighley
2012: MSgt Craig R. LaMudge, USAF (Ret)
2013: MSG Jim Smith
2014: not awarded
2015: SGM Pete Gould, USA (Ret)
2016 Hathcock Award goes to W. Hays Parks:
W. Hays Parks entered federal service as a commissioned officer in the Marine Corps. His initial service was as a reconnaissance officer. He served in the Republic of Viet Nam (1968-1969) as an infantry officer and senior prosecuting attorney for the First Marine Division. Subsequent assignments included service as a congressional liaison officer for the Secretary of the Navy, and as Chief, Law of War Branch, Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy.
Mr. Parks became the Special Assistant to The Judge Advocate General of the Army for Law of War Matters in July 1979. He has served as a legal adviser to U.S. Special Operations Forces since 1979. He was a legal adviser for the 1986 airstrike against terrorist-related targets in Libya. From 1978 to 2006, he was a United States representative for law of war negotiations in New York, Geneva, The Hague and Vienna, during which time he was the senior U.S. representative in international experts’ meetings and diplomatic conferences for military small arms ammunition issues, defeating every proposal by other governments or non-governmental organizations for new treaties to regulate or ban military small arms ammunition projectile design based upon ill-conceived or economically-driven arguments of proponents. He joined the International Affairs Division, Office of General Counsel, Department of Defense, in August 2003 as the senior DOD law of war subject-matter expert. He chaired the DOD Law of War Working Group until his retirement in 2010.
Mr. Parks occupied the Charles H. Stockton Chair of International Law at the Naval War College for the1984-1985 academic year. In 1987 he served as a staff member on the Presidential Commission established to examine security breaches in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. In 1989 he prepared the U.S. Government’s legal opinion defining assassination. He has testified as an expert witness in cases against terrorists in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, including members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Provisional Irish Republican Army and, in 2015, former Russian Army Major Irek Ilgiz Hamidullin, captured in Afghanistan in 2009 while commanding Taliban forces. Tried and convicted in federal district court in Richmond, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson sentenced Hamidullin to life imprisonment plus thirty years. A retired colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, he earned Navy-Marine Corps, Canadian and British Parachutist wings, U.S. Army Master Parachutist wings, and 82nd Airborne Centurion wings during his military career.
Mr. Parks has lectured on the law affecting military operations at the National, Army, Air Force and Naval War Colleges; the service staff colleges; and other U.S. and foreign military schools. In 2001 he became the sixth person in the history of the United States Special Operations Command to receive that command’s top civilian award, the U.S. Special Operations Command Outstanding Civilian Service Medal. In 2006 he was awarded the USSOCOM Major General William F. Garrison Award for a career of service to Special Operations Forces.
Notwithstanding the above resume, Hays has been a well-known figure in the small arms community, championing the cause of the warriors. His support and work behind the scenes has been a part of every major small arms ammunition improvement in recent history. But for Hays Parks’ efforts, there is a strong possibility our military and law enforcement snipers in harms’ way would not have gained access to “Open Tip Match” (OTM) ammunition.
Interestingly enough, the first military inquiry Hays answered regarding use of this type of projectile was for competition only. Hays’ approval included a strong indication that OTM would receive a favorable review for combat use, if requested. Once the DOD got around to asking for approval of the OTM projectile for combat use (a decade later), Hays wrote the legal opinion approving it. This was initially in 7.62x51 but has also spread to other cartridges. This review set the precedent that the American warfighter is legally entitled to use the most precise ammunition available in the military system, previously prohibited solely because of its appearance.
The projectile has an opening at the tip. This opening is a byproduct of manufacture. It had never been requested for combat because no one in the military (much less the JAG Corps) prior to Hays Parks had the combination of current and historical legal knowledge, extensive ballistic experience, bulldog tenacity and articulate grasp of the English language to “fix” a misapplied treaty standard not binding on the United States.
His fundamental philosophy: “To provide maximum support for the first Marine across the beach, the first assaulter through the door, the sniper taking the cold bore shot, and other US military and law enforcement personnel operating in or likely to operate in harm’s way.”
Colonel Parks set the groundwork for his later opinions regarding OTM versions MK248 Mod 0 and Mod 1, M118LR, AB39, MK262 Mod 0 and Mod 1, SOST, MK255 Mod 1 and many more, including several that some of our readers may have used but discussing in this arena is not appropriate. His work to make these rounds available to our troops has resulted in more effective fire on our enemies and fewer chances for those enemies to fire back or ever again pose a threat to US forces. These actions saved American lives. Hays did more than just answer paper requests. He encouraged innovation, provided careful guidance to those responsible for development, and used articulate, masterful analysis to meet our treaty and policy obligations, successfully defeating challenges to existing military small arms ammunition, such as the 1999-2000 challenge of legality by the International Committee of the Red Cross of the Raufoss 12.7mm Multipurpose Projectile, while at the same time giving the most effective, lawful ammunition to our troops, and confidence as to its legality.
He always sought personal challenges, such as infantry and recon command, airborne and similar schools. Serving as an infantry company commander at Camp LeJeune, he volunteered for Viet Nam and combat assignment when he could have avoided it. He volunteered for every school he could attend, and the tougher the school, the better. This philosophy continued even after his assignment to the Judge Advocate General’s Office, when rank and position might have made such schools seem superfluous. To Hays, it was important to know the job intimately. To do his job at the level his pride demanded, he needed the perspective of the guy on the ground, pulling the trigger. In summary, Hays Parks’ efforts have had a positive influence on the success of every U.S Military sniper in recent history.
He has had similar influence on the success of most of those of our closest Allies. For the above reasons, Hays Parks was chosen as deserving of the 2016 Hathcock Award and the eternal gratitude of all of us, especially those whose lives he saved. There are countless US servicemen alive right now because Hays Parks put more accurate, reliable and effective ammunition into their hands and the hands of their fellow warfighters.
W. Hays Parks is also one hell of a shot, and spends a lot of trigger time working out with like-minded shooters.
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