Sometimes simple solutions can have a big payoff.

The winner of the XVIII Airborne Corps’ second “Dragon Innovation Challenge” this week came up with just such a fix.

Tired of shuffling Humvees around the training area just to move a generator or other heavy items? Well, Spc. Trevor Cross with the 101st Airborne Division and his fellow soldiers found a way around that time-consuming chore.

The soldier put together a forklift trailer attachment so the smaller, more nimble vehicle can slide in and out of areas to move whatever can hook to a trailer. The device mounts on the front of the forklift itself and uses the same type of attachment for a trailer hitch used on the Humvee.

“Spc. Cross’ innovation is brilliant in its simplicity,” said Brig. Gen. Robert Ritchie, the Corps’ Assistant Commanding General. “His idea, when scaled across all corps units, will save our soldiers time, increase productivity, and improve efficiency in our generator maintenance. This is the very kind of idea Dragon’s Lair was intended to bring forward and it will go a long way toward cultivating our culture of innovation.”

For his part, Cross said in a recorded exit interview that whether he won the competition or not, he expected the device should be added to the inventory across the Corps and the Army.

And once it is in place, soldiers are, “not going to understand how they went about their days without it.”

Cross was one of five finalists. Other submissions included a guard on a refrigeration condenser to avoid damage during movements, a Shutterfly-like photo upload system for public affairs and a voice-activated touch screen monitor for combat medics to track unit vital signs.

Soldiers in the XVIII Airborne Corps can submit to the quarterly competition at the following link.

For his winning submission, the specialist will receive a Meritorious Service Medal, four-day pass and school of his choice. He’ll also help implement his trailer attachment across all Corps units, according to an Airborne Corps statement.

“Spc. Cross saw a problem in his daily work life: generator mechanics are required to move enormous trailer-based generators around motor pools all over the Army every day and this requires a vehicle, two soldiers, and an hour of time,” said Col. Joe Buccino, Corps spokesman. “His innovation is simple, it makes sense, and it will save time and money.”

Cross is the second winner of the program, which launched in late summer. The first winner was Maj. Evan Adams, also with the 101st Airborne Division. Adams’ innovation was a Range Finder mobile device application that streamlines the process of forecasting and managing training areas across the Corps’ seven major installations.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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