Army Sgt. Roger Litton, an allied trade specialist with the 92nd Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, was selected as the winner of the Department of Defense’s premiere innovation competition, Dragon’s Lair 7, in Austin, Texas, Aug. 16, 2022.
During this event, Litton went up against four other contestants and came out as a champion. Dragon’s Lair is a competition where innovators across the DOD have a chance to present their ideas to a panel of civilian tech leaders and senior military officials. Each of the finalists created their innovation to improve their profession of arms.
As a noncommissioned officer, one of Litton’s responsibilities is taking care of his soldiers.
While searching for ways to improve efficiency, he discovered that the process of building bridges for combat engineers was labor intensive and time consuming.
To fix these deficiencies, Litton used his training as an allied trade specialist to fabricate an attachment for a hydraulic excavator. The attachment is a post pile driver that will increase efficiency in building docks and bridges by 25%. This innovation ultimately impressed the panelists and won Litton the competition.
“After winning the award, I feel ecstatic right now,” said Litton, “I think the other innovators had some really great ideas, and I am just very proud to be here.”
As the winner of Dragon’s Lair 7, this innovator received an Army Meritorious Service Medal, a military school of his choice and the opportunity for the DOD to implement his idea.
Moving forward, Litton wants to build a second version of his attachment that’s lighter and more secure; he will distribute a build plan so that other highly skilled welders can reproduce his invention.
“When we started this journey about 24 months ago, the commander told us he wants to see tangible innovations,” said Canadian Brig. Gen. Bob Ritchie, former Assistant Commanding General for Operations for the XVIII Airborne Corps. “We saw that today from these five champions — tangible innovations. And that is the one invariant with the Dragon’s Lair. We are on number seven and what hasn’t changed is why we do this thing. It’s to unlock ideas.”