Former Picatinny employees inducted into Ammunition Hall of Fame
August 6, 2013
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- Three former Picatinny employees were inducted into the Ammunition Hall of Fame July 25 in honor of their contributions to U.S. military ammunition.
Dr. Joseph Lannon, Charles Digney and William DeMassi served the Department of Defense supporting the development, purchase, and delivery of ammunition to U.S. service members.
The Ammunition Hall of Fame is located at the Joint Munitions Command in Rock Island, Ill. It was established in October 2011 to honor and memorialize former civilian and military personnel who have made significant and lasting contributions to the U.S. Army ammunition mission, according to a Joint Munitions Command news release.
The greatest achievements of the honorees are not only their individual achievements, but just as important is the legacy they left behind, said Brig. Gen. John McGuiness, Picatinny Commanding General and the Program Executive Officer for Ammunition.
"While we are recognizing your individual accomplishments today," he told the inductees, "I think we also need to think about your legacy. It is your mentoring of so many individuals through the years that has groomed the next generation of leaders to take their rightful place among leadership positions throughout Picatinny.
"For decades, the American Soldier has gone into battle with the highest level of technology," McGuiness added.
"There's been nobody that's gone into a conflict more prepared than the American Soldier. And it's because of items that you've produced. It's because of organizations that you've led. And it's because of the legacy that continues after you leave," he said. "There's been no decrease in terms of the technological edge. And it's because of the great things you did, not only on the individual side, but in what you've been able to pass on to your colleagues."
Dr. Gerardo Melendez, Director of Picatinny's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, praised his predecessor, Dr. Lannon, for his valuable contributions to the military.
"Joe was someone who possessed generous portions of all the essential qualities as expressed in the Army's key words on leadership, 'Be, Know and Do,' he said. "Dr. Lannon was the quintessential achiever, and few will ever truly know how much his achievements have contributed to make the Army stronger and our Soldier's safer."
Dr. Joseph Lannon:
Dr. Lannon began his career as a research chemist at Frankford Arsenal, Pa., in small arms armaments in June 1966 working in the laboratory on ignition and combustion of gun propellants.
Early in his career, he was acknowledged by the White House Office of Science and Technology for his work on explosives and munitions detection. He was also elected to the 1970 edition of the Outstanding Young Men of America for his outstanding work as a research chemist.
During his early days at Picatinny, Lannon was instrumental in doing propulsion work on ammunition including 105 mm and 120 mm tank systems.
He later became the Senior Technical Executive for the Armament Engineering and Technology Center, where he oversaw formulating, guiding, and managing research, development and engineering efforts in all conventional weapons and munitions systems, fire control, and fuze and precision armament at ARDEC.
Lannon assumed the role Director for ARDEC in September 2005. During his time as director, the organization won 34 Army Research and Development Achievement Team Awards with 112 individual recipients. The organization also facilitated the fielding of 107 new systems to meet the needs of our troops.
During Lannon's tenure, the organization was recognized as a world class, role model organization in November 2007 when President George W. Bush and Commerce Secretary Gutierrez announced that ARDEC was the first federal recipient of the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the non-profit category for organizational performance excellence.
Lannon retired in July 2010, after serving his country for more than 44 years.
Charles Digney served as the Deputy Project Manager Mines, Countermine and Demolitions for 20 years. Digney was on the forefront of using acquisition strategies to improve efficiency and quality of ammunition.
He had an outstanding record for seeing programs through, from infancy to completion. His contributions include the development and acquisition for programs such as the M131 modular-pack mine system, Volcano Multiple Delivery Mine System, the M93 Hornet Wide Area Munition, Time Delayed Firing Devices, M16 and M18 Non-Electric Blasting Caps and many more. Digney played a critical role in the Secretary of Defense's Antipersonnel mine alternative efforts. He led efforts to allow the U.S. to replace their inventory of antipersonnel mines with items that met both Soldier and international humanitarian needs.
Digney earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Newark College of Engineering. He is the recipient of the Lieutenant Colonel Levin Hicks Campbell Award, the National Defense Industrial Association's Firepower Award and John A. Ulrich Award, as well as an Army Meritorious Civilian Service Medal.
William DeMassi began his career at Picatinny Arsenal in 1962 in the quality assurance directorate for the Project Manager Selected Ammunition. He prepared product specifications, designed gages, and test equipment. He developed engineering and service tests for developmental testing. In 1977, he was assigned to the Project Manager Cannon Artillery Weapons Systems and was responsible for the laser-guided projectile program. His management and technical skills contributed to the development and production of three revolutionary precision munitions.
DeMassi was pivotal to the establishment of quality, reliability, and safety requirements for testing of the Copperhead Cannon Launched Guided Projectile systems. He also was responsible for all technical aspects of the Sense and Destroy Armor munition. His expertise was invaluable in the extension of precision technologies to artillery and mortar munitions.
In recognition of his lifelong contributions, DeMassi was a recipient of the Order of Saint Barbara -- the Patron Saint of the Field Artillery.