U.S. Army Operational Testers' Hall of Fame

  Lt. Col. Paul W. Lavendar

Inducted December 10, 2002

Test, Evaluation, and Control Group
Project Test and Evaluation of Air Mobility
Fort Benning, Georgia, 1963-1965

U.S. Army Infantry Board
Fort Benning, Georgia, 1965-1966

Combat Developments Command Infantry Agency
Fort Benning, Georgia, 1968-1970
U.S. Army Infantry Board
Fort Benning, Georgia, 1972-1990 


Following distinguished combat service in World War II in the 82nd Airborne Division, Lt. Col. Paul W. Lavendar had his introduction to Army test and evaluation with the experimental “Pentomic Division” organization from 1956-1960.  He single-handedly developed methodology and the guiding procedures for mortar and artillery fire support to that revolutionary tactical concept.

From 1963 to 1965, Lavendar became involved with the test and evaluation of the new airmobile concept and tactics of the 11th Air Assault Division at Fort Benning, Georgia.  By sheer ingenuity, innovativeness, and initiative, Lavendar developed detailed, comprehensive exercise scenarios that included appropriate unit actions in sufficient numbers to obtain representative scientific findings that subsequently resulted in activation of the 1st Air Cavalry Division.

Lavendar was then reassigned (1965-1966) to the U.S. Army Infantry Board at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he served as an Assistant Operations Officer, Test Officer, and Chief of the Small Arms Test Division.  At this assignment, he participated in the service tests of the Small Arms Weapon Systems (SAWS), a program to develop a family of small arms that would utilize common components and ammunition.  This program produced the M-16 rifle which first saw action in Vietnam.

His final active military operational test and evaluation assignment was from 1967-1970 with the Combat Developments Command Infantry Agency at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he served as the Study Team Chief, and later as the Chief, Evaluation Branch.  His major area of responsibility was the Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Night Operations (STANO) development program.  He conducted troop tests with the 82d Airborne Division, and service tests with the Tropic Test Center, Panama, and Combat Evaluation Combat Divisions in Vietnam.

Following his military retirement in 1970, Lavendar worked for the U.S. Army Infantry Board, Fort Benning, Georgia, until his retirement from civil service in 1990.  Of great significance is the fact that he developed 44 test operations procedures, which facilitated and standardized the methodology for use by the Infantry Board test officers during test plan development for the testing of research and development prototype models and of production items/systems developed by the Army.

During his final years in Civil Service (1981-1990), Lavendar served as the technical advisor to five presidents of the U.S. Army Infantry Board and chief coordinator for all phases of the USAIB test mission.  He was the cornerstone of the U.S. Army Infantry Board's integration and successful operation within the test and evaluation community and served daily in true tradition to the Infantry Board's motto - "Only the best for the finest."