Friday, July 1, 2011

John C. Garand

Bom on 1 January 1888 on a small farm in Quebec, Canada, John Cantius Garand was working as a floor sweeper at a Connecticut textile mill by the time he was 11, where he was fascinated with the machinery he saw around him. In his spare time, he learnt from the mechanics and by 18 he had taught himself enough to work as a machinist.

Garand had an inventive mind and by November 1919 was working at the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts, where he would eventually become the Chief Civilian Engineer. Garand invented a self-loading .30-calibre rifle, known as the M1 or "the Garand", which was adopted in 1936 after gruelling tests by the US Army. During the time that he took to develop the M1 and other small arms innovations, Garand received no more than his government salary. Some people felt he deserved compensation, yet when a bill was introduced in Congress to grant him $100,000, it did not pass. He received official recognition in the form of a Medal for Meritorious Service in 1941 and in 1944 the Government Medal for Merit. He retired in 1953 and died on 16 February 1974.

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