Civil Service employee John C. 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
Gen. 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.