Civil Service employee John Garand was in a class all by himself, much like the weapons he created. Garand was Chief Civilian Engineer at the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts. Garand invented a semiautomatic .30 caliber rifle, known as the M-1 or "the Garand," which was adopted in 1936 after grueling tests by the Army. It was gas-operated, weighed under 10 pounds, and was loaded by an 8-round clip. It fired more than twice as fast as the Army's previous standard-issue rifle and was praised by General George S. Patton, Jr., as "a magnificent weapon" and "the most deadly rifle in the world."
For the M-1 and numerous other technical innovations related to weaponry, Garand received no monetory award other than his modest Civil Service salary. A bill introduced in Congress to grant him $100,000 did not pass. He was, however, awarded a Medal for Meritorious Service in 1941 and a U.S. Government Medal for Merit in 1944.
Information and images provided by National Archives and Records Administration