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Acknowledging Inductee Contributions on Armed Forces Day

Each year, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of May to honor all members of the branches of the U.S. military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Space Force, National Guard and Reserve Forces. This commemoration acknowledges the unification of the Armed Forces under one department – the U.S. Department of Defense.

This Armed Forces Day, explore a handful of outstanding National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees who have made remarkable contributions to the military. Check out their impressive innovations below!


Robert Rines

Inductee Robert Rines, a U.S. Army veteran, invented high-resolution radar and sonar. His development of these remote sensing systems began at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Radiation Laboratory with modulation techniques, or the conversion of data into electrical signals, for the Microwave Early Warning System developed secretly during World War II. His high-definition image-scanning radar has been used to provide early warning, weapons fire control, and some artillery and missile detection radars during the Persian Gulf War. Rines’ noteworthy technologies also are used in medical instrumentation for noninvasive ultrasound imaging of internal organs.


Frances Ligler

Inductee Frances Ligler invented portable optical biosensors, devices that use biological molecules to detect a chemical or biological target. Benefiting fields from healthcare to food production to military operations, these biosensors can identify and quantify pathogens, toxins, pollutants, drugs or explosives. During Operation Desert Storm, Ligler was instrumental in producing tactical sensors for detecting botulinum toxin and anthrax. She and her team created the first airborne biosensor for biological warfare agents and developed the underlying technology for the RAPTOR portable, automated biosensor. This device was tested by NATO to analyze biological toxins and pathogens and used to test water deliveries to U.S. Navy ships in Bahrain.


Andrew Higgins

Inductee Andrew Higgins invented landing craft critical to the success of the U.S. military during World War II, including the Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel (LCVP), or Higgins Boat, used to land American troops on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. This versatile landing craft could carry 36 combat-equipped infantrymen, a Jeep and 12 troops, or 8,100 pounds of cargo. With a crew of four, it could navigate in 3 feet of water, reaching speeds of 12 knots and was protected by two .30 caliber machine guns. The Higgins Boat was used in North Africa, Italy, France and across the Pacific. It also was used by the U.S. Army to cross the Rhine River into Germany in March 1945, becoming the standard personnel landing craft for the military during World War II.


Otis Boykin

Inductee Otis Boykin invented electronic resistors, which are used in televisions, radios, computers and pacemakers. His resistors, able to withstand extreme changes in temperature and pressure, were cheaper and more reliable than previous types. After college, he worked for several electronic manufacturing firms where he developed a talent for devising highly reliable electronic components. Boykin’s technological advancements made electronic devices more affordable and dependable than ever before. His resistors were quickly integrated into many products, ranging from common household goods to complex military technology, which are still used around the world today.


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