NATICK, Mass. -- Robert DiLalla -- an engineer and team leader at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center -- was presented the FY2015 Maj. Gen. Harold "Harry" J. Greene Award for Innovation in the Individual -- Civilian Award Category during a ceremony on Sept. 19.

DiLalla won the award for his work on the Ballistic Combat Shirt, which reduces bulk and thermal burden on the Soldier while maintaining a high-level of ballistic protection. DiLalla took a revolutionary design approach by focusing on the Soldier as an athlete.

The Maj. Gen. Harold "Harry" J. Greene Award for Innovation recognizes innovative technologies provided by the research and development/science and technology communities, as well as Soldiers in the field. The award acknowledges contributions that greatly enhance the Army's overall readiness, while positively impacting Soldier performance.

Greene was killed in Afghanistan in 2014 and had served as senior commander at the Natick Soldier Systems Center -- where he was revered as a Soldier, scientist and commander -- from August 2009 to May 2011.

"You know in all of the interactions that I had with General Greene, it was very clear to me that he was all about improving, making things better for others, whether it was a process, a product or a method -- he wanted to make things better," said Lisha H. Adams, executive deputy to the commanding general at the U.S. Army Material Command.

Maj. General Cedric T. Wins, commanding general of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, pointed out that innovations like the Ballistic Combat Shirt help improve readiness and help save the lives of Soldiers. Wins said that DiLalla's invention empowers, unburdens and protects the Soldier.

"So I think you hit here, Rob, the trifecta, with this one piece of equipment, and that's quite an accomplishment for one garment," said Wins.

NSRDEC Director Douglas A. Tamilio commended DiLalla for his great character and said that Maj. Gen. Greene would be proud that the first award took place here at Natick.

"I am extremely pleased that Rob and his team were recognized with this prestigious award for their work on the Ballistic Combat Shirt," said Tamilio. "This capability significantly increases the protection and flexibility of our personal protective ensemble, ensuring we are giving our Soldiers the edge they need."

"I am truly humbled to be recognized with the Maj. Gen. Greene Award for Innovation," said DiLalla. "I had the opportunity to meet Maj. Gen. Greene on a few occasions while he was the CG of NSSC/DCG RDECOM, so being the first recipient of his award hits close to home. The Ballistic Combat Shirt changes the way we think about wearing personal protection and improves Soldier performance. Knowing that Soldiers are better protected and more capable of performing their mission is extremely rewarding."


The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.