Athena Afloat Roundup

By: ENS Daniel Stefanus


From onboard ANCHORAGE we are proud to announce the successful launch of Athena Afloat! This is the first time in Athena’s history that a pitch event has been held aboard a deployed ship, and on Sunday the ideas were flowing within the skin of the ship just as fast as the water was flowing by outside. Of course, modifications had to be made to the original Athena concept, but the spirit was alive and well onboard the Mighty ANCHORAGE!

Performing an Athena event while deployed definitely presented a unique set of challenges, but the buzz around the ship and ideas pitched were truly incredible. It seems like now every time I hear a sailor complain about some piece of equipment or procedure, another chimes in, “Athena!” This buzz is great, and we had easily 25 people interested and talking to us about ideas at first, but with operational commitments and long, hard days many got cold feet. In the end we had 3 ideas pitched, all well-rehearsed and developed, and many more waiting in the wings for our next event!

Athena 1

Kicking off the first-ever Athena event on a deployed warship, USS ANCHORAGE

Without further ado, our winners are:

*** The Athena Afloat Admiral Sims Award for Intellectual Courage***

“Rapid Action Multi-Use Tourniquet″ – HM2 Timothy Vanderzee, USS ANCHORAGE

The R.A.M Tourniquet is an evolutionary improvement to the Navy/Marine Corps’ existing tourniquet design. The improvements created by the R.A.M Tourniquet allow first time users the ability to effectively occlude hemorrhage with little to no training, while at the same time allowing an advanced user to utilize the device as a pelvic binder or as traction in case of fractures (i.e. femur). Such improvements offer the user two additional intervention options (Pelvic binder/Traction splint), saving precious space in a med-bag. The device uses a ratchet style binder that is self-locking; instead of a windlass that has to be forced into its locks, which carries the potential to bind into a knot. Also, by use of the “block-and-tackle” design, clamping pressure is doubled, creating a more effective occlusion. Finally, the tourniquet achieves its secondary uses by a removable pin that eliminates the limb strap, transforming it into a stand-alone binder, capable of tensile strengths up to 350lbs.

Our audience was blown away by HM2’s ingenuity, research, and passion, and can’t wait to see the tourniquet out in the Fleet.

“Fresh Water Washdown System″ – ENS Brent Spicer, DCC Jake Wright, USS ANCHORAGE

ENS Spicer and DCC Wright propose taking an existing system and modifying it to tackle a scourge as old as ironclads: rust. By adding a booster onto the Countermeasure Washdown System (CWDS) and pumping fresh water through the nozzles, the CWDS can be re-imagined as the Freshwater Washdown System. By enveloping the ship in an artificial rain cloud to wash off the salt, sand, and dust that corrode our ships and damage our equipment, the Navy will save millions of man hours over the life of the ship and prevent billions of dollars in corrosion-related damage and degradations. Such innovative thinking, using the Navy’s systems in novel and ingenious ways, reveals the true transformational power of Athena. Let’s get this one rolled-out soon!

“Life Curtains” – FC2 Simeon Vanderbaan, USS ANCHORAGE

The idea is simple and drastically improves our sailors safety and quality of life. Currently on LPD-17 Class ships none of the E-6 and below berthings have any kind of safety strap system for heavy seas or rolls. By using a heavy curtain material, heavy gage connection assembly, and connecting the curtains both at the top and the bottom of the racks, our sailors would be protected from failing out of the rack when pitch and roll reach significant levels. Moreover, such curtains would work in tandem with the Navy’s existing research on the benefits of less light pollution to sailors’ sleep quality. Not to mention the improved privacy, something anyone who has ever slept in a berthing knows is a precious commodity. This solution is simpler than the standard two strap method, and it eliminates the possibility of twisting an ankle trying to get out of a rack in a hurry. Such a multi-faceted and easy to implement solution would be a great addition to our fleet and would drastically increase our sailors’ safety and quality of life!

Athena alum DCC Jake Wright showcases the new prototype of his Athena-6 winning concept to the crowd. The "Effing Awesome 7000" has been picked up for further prototyping by ONR Tech Solutions!

Athena alum DCC Jake Wright showcases the new prototype of his Athena-6 winning concept to the crowd. The “Effing Awesome 7000” has been picked up for further prototyping by ONR Tech Solutions!

We had some truly incredible submissions and an amazing audience that asked hard-hitting questions, probing into the very nature of the ideas and fleshing out the kinks along the way.

We’ve certainly learned a lot in our first go round and look forward to implementing some changes for the next event! We’d love any feedback you all may have for us, and hope to work with other ships soon to get Athena rolled out at more commands, helping more sailors, and bringing ever more innovation to our great Navy.

ENS Stefanus is the Fire Control Officer onboard USS ANCHORAGE. To connect with him or DCC Wright, e-mail or

In the San Diego or Norfolk areas? Well, join us for Athena 8 in San Diego on August 28th and Athena East 2.0 in Norfolk in October! Have an idea you want to present? Message us!

Connect with The Athena Project on Facebook: or follow us on Twitter: @AthenaNavy. Interested in starting a movement of your own? Message us, or e-mail!

Gearing Up for Waterfront Athena 8

By: LTJG Tom Baker


We are excited to extend an invitation to Waterfront ATHENA 8 on Friday, August 28th at the Societe Brewing Tasting Room from 1200-1500!

Before I started writing this announcement, I read through the blog posts below from LCDR Drew Barker and ENS Daniel Stefanus. My takeaway in short: We are witnessing some very exciting and inspirational times!

Growth and transformation within ATHENA is accelerating. We are breaking new ground in the amount of support and interest received from our surrounding military and civilian communities. ATHENA 8 promises a showing of that growth and change.

The mighty BENFOLD, our original grassroots platform for The ATHENA Project, is preparing for a homeport shift to Yokosuka, Japan in early September. We will carry over a team of inspired hearts and minds, anxious to launch ATHENA Far East this fall. And certainly, in that effort we are thrilled to connect with anyone who might be inspired by the Project and would like to get involved – message us if you’re interested!

The San Diego team we depart from is nothing short of awesome! At ATHENA 8, BENFOLD will “pass the torch” to leaders from LCSRON 1 and USS ANCHORAGE.

As always, the stage is 100% open to any innovators in the San Diego area, regardless of community affiliation (or service affiliation for that matter, as we are thrilled to have our Marine Corps brethren geared to participate in ATHENA 8!). If you have a big idea that you want to share with our open and accepting network, get a hold of us and come on down to the event to share your idea with kindred spirits!


The Athena Project returning to the awesome space that our friends at Societe Brewing Company have built on August 28th!

We hope you can share these exciting changes with us at Waterfront ATHENA 8. See you at Societe on August 28th!


Tom Baker is the First Lieutenant onboard the Ballistic Missile Defense Guided Missile Destroyer, USS BENFOLD (DDG 65). He is a graduate of Oregon State University in Entrepreneurship.

Connect with The Athena Project on Facebook: or follow us on Twitter: @AthenaNavy. Interested in starting a movement of your own? Message us, or e-mail!