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NCO, Welder Selected as Winner for Dragon's Lair 7

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.
 

A man poses with an award while three other men stand beside him.
Award Ceremony
Sgt. Roger Litton, an allied trade specialist (welder), with the 92nd Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, was named the winner of Dragon’s Lair 7 and awarded the Meritorious Service Medal following the event. Sgt. Litton was presented the award by Canadian Brig. Gen. Bob Ritchie, former Assistant Commanding General, Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Holland, senior enlisted advisor for the XVIII Airborne Corps, and Col. Jay Wizman, director of the Army Applications Laboratory, at the Capital Factory in Austin, Texas, Aug. 16, 2022. This is the 7th iteration of Dragon’s Lair, the DOD’s premiere innovation series, where the finalists presented their innovations to a panel of civilian tech leaders and senior military officials.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Maxine Baen
VIRIN: 220816-A-RA940-246

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. 

A man holds a microphone. Other seated men watch.
Dragon Presentation
Chris Vanek, the Three Rangers Foundation Director for Gold Star Program, asks a question during an innovation presentation at Dragon’s Lair 7, in Austin, Texas, Aug. 16, 2022. This is the 7th iteration of Dragon’s Lair, the DOD’s premiere innovation series, where the finalists presented their innovations to a panel of civilian tech leaders and senior military officials.
Photo By: Army Spc. Jasmalyn Sihakhom
VIRIN: 220816-A-RA940-147

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. 

A group of people pose for a photo.
Finalist Photo
Dragon’s Lair 7 finalists and panelists celebrate the end of Dragon’s Lair and the corps culture of innovation at the Capital Factory in Austin, Texas, Aug. 16, 2022. This is the 7th iteration of Dragon’s Lair, the DOD’s premiere innovation series, where the finalists presented their innovations to a panel of civilian tech leaders and senior military officials.
Photo By: Army Spc. Jasmalyn Sihakhom
VIRIN: 220816-A-RA940-322

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." 

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