1992 Recipient of the ITEA Allen R. Matthews Award
“Grandfather of Test and Evaluation”
Last week, the T&E Community lost one of it’s greatest members. Mr. Walter “Walt” Winslow Hollis, former Deputy Under Secretary of the Army for Operations Research, who passed on Friday morning, July 27th. Please join ITEA, the T&E Community, and Mr. Hollis’ Family and Friends in Celebrating his Life and Contributions to ITEA and the T&E Profession. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 25, 2018 at 11:00 at All Souls Episcopal Church, 2300 Cathedral Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20008. A reception in the parish hall will follow the service. Interment will be at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.
Mr. Hollis was a mentor to many ITEA members, as well as others in the T&E profession. Mr. Hollis was one of the founding fathers and a longtime member of ITEA, and was the 3rd recipient of the Allen R. Matthew Award. The award is presented to an individual for a lasting, significant contribution to the field of T&E, such as the cumulative effect of a distinguished career. It is the highest award bestowed by ITEA.
Mr. Hollis consistently supported and addressed ITEA’s Annual International Symposium and many ITEA workshops during every year of his long career. Mr. Hollis also was a frequent contributor to The ITEA Journal of Test and Evaluation, including his “Reflections of an ‘Old Tester’” in March 2003. Mr. Hollis, whose distinguished career spanned more than five decades, is known as the “Grandfather of Test and Evaluation.”
Walter Winslow Hollis was born on November 13th 1926 in Braintree, MA; and was raised in Waltham, MA. He started college at Northeastern University majoring in chemistry, left to serve 18 months in the Army Chemical Corps, and returned to Northeastern, graduating in 1949 with a double major in physics and mathematics. Walt then began his long Army career working as an optical designer at Frankfort Arsenal in Philadelphia, PA. Some of his notable projects were working on the design of telescopic sights for the 106mm recoilless rifle and the Redstone missile. He soon became director of the Fire Control Unit where he led the design of the fire control system for the Sheridan Tank, one of the earliest systems using a mechanical and electronic analog computer to develop a complete fire control solution. In 1968, he was asked by another T&E icon, Mr. Dave Hardison, to become the Science Advisor to the Director of the Army Combat Developments Experimentation Center (CDEC) at Ft. Ord, CA. After four years at CDEC, Walt attended the National War College, and then became the Science Advisor at the Army Operational Test and Evaluation Agency (OTEA), beginning his long and prominent role as the Godfather of T&E. While at OTEA, he was instrumental in evaluating and testing the Army’s Big Five: the AH-64 attack helicopter, the M1 Abrams tank, the Bradley fighting vehicle, the Patriot air defense system, and the UH-60 utility helicopter.
In 1980, Walt was appointed as the Deputy Under Secretary of the Army for Operations Research. In this position, he proudly served the Army and this country, leading the Army T&E and analysis communities for 26 years until his retirement in 2006. He was the recipient of numerous professional and Presidential awards and has several professional awards named in his honor. The U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command headquarters building at Aberdeen Proving Grounds was dedicated to Walter W. Hollis in a ceremony at the ATEC headquarters on December 13, 2012.
The following quote from Walt shows why he is often referred to as the Conscience of Army T&E. “The ones who worked for me are good analysts for two reasons. One, they have common sense, and are thoughtful people, who also happen to have ability in the field of analysis. But it takes more than just being able to get an “A” in calculus. It really is, in my view, dealing with people who think about what they see, look at what they read, and form reasoned judgments. That is more important than the analysis alone.” A good friend of his aptly described him as: “A boulder of common sense in a quarry of pet rocks”. He asked hard questions; he stimulated thought; and he cultivated reason; all to the great benefit of the US warfighter. He was respected by all and was an inspiration and mentor to many. We in the T&E community will miss our “Godfather” but will do our best in his absence and remembrance, to continue his great legacy.
Walt and his wife were avid gardeners, and he was a long-time elder at Bush Hill Presbyterian Church, serving as Sunday school teacher and superintendent and choir member. He also enjoyed woodworking, reading, and crossword puzzles. Walt was predeceased by his wife of 44 years, the former Dorcas Ann Menear, and is survived by his four children; Nancy Ann Smith of Abilene, TX, Jeffrey Lee Hollis, Sr. of Fresno, CA, David Michael Hollis of Washington, DC, and Susan Jane Breisch of Springfield, VA plus his seven grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.