THIS DAY IN AIR FORCE ACADEMY HISTORY - JULY
STEVEN A. SIMON, USAFA '77
ACADEMY DEVELOPMENT AND ALUMNI PROGRAMS OFFICE
1954 -- Noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright visits the Academy site. He was a partner in Kittyhawk Associates, one
of the groups that bid unsuccessfully on the project, and later was a
vociferous critic of the final design by the victorious firm, Skidmore, Owings
1 July 1957 -- Seventy-five cadets from the Class of '59 arrive in Germany to tour European bases for three weeks.
1 July 1959 -- The Department of Physical Education is transferred from the office of the Commandant of Cadets to the Department of Athletics, by direction of the Superintendent, Major General James Briggs.
1 July 1960 -- The Monument Valley Freeway, now I-25, opens, easing access to Colorado Springs from the Academy.
1 July 1963 -- The Academy Council is created as the primary management tool. It consisted of the Dean of the Faculty, Commandant of Cadets, Director of Athletics, Cadet Registrar, and Chief of Staff, with the Superintendent as Chairman.
1 July 1965 -- The Academy conducts a change-of-command ceremony, at which Lieutenant General Thomas Moorman becomes the Academy's fifth Superintendent. Major General Robert Warren, the previous Superintendent, was reassigned to Air Force Systems Command.
1 July 1974 -- The Class of '78, consisting of 1,630 appointees, reports to the Academy for in-processing. This is the largest entering class in Academy history.
1 July 1979 -- The Military Order of Merit (MOM) is replaced by the Military Performance Average (MPA).
1 July 1979 -- The Department of Civil Engineering, Engineering Mechanics, and Materials is reorganized into two departments: The Department of Civil Engineering and the Department of Engineering Mechanics.
1 July 1980 -- Headquarters USAF authorizes the merging of the Air Force Academy Liaison and AFROTC programs.
1 July 1980 -- The Air Force Academy joins the Western Athletic Conference, the first time a service academy is affiliated with a collegiate athletic conference. Academy women's teams received waivers from the WAC and the NCAA to continue at the Division II level until the end of the 1995-1996 season, when all women's teams moved to Division I.
1 July 1981 -- Groundbreaking for the $4.5 million expansion of the Cadet Library takes place.
1 July 1982 -- General Charles Gabriel, who as a captain had served on the original Academy cadre as an Air Officer Commanding, becomes the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
1 July 1990 -- General Michael J. Dugan, who had served at the Academy from 1967 until 1972, becomes the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
1 July 1990 -- The Academy becomes a member of the Colorado Athletic Conference for its women's intercollegiate athletic programs.
1 July 1993 -- Control of the 557th Flying Training Squadron is transferred to Air Education and Training Command, though the flying operations remain at the Academy.
1 July 1993 -- The United States Air Force Academy Band is reassigned to Air Force Space Command and renamed "The Band of the Rockies." The Band remained at the Academy until space for the band was completed at Peterson Air Force Base in February 1997.
1 July 1994 -- The in-processing of new cadets takes place in Doolittle Hall for the first time. Before this change, incoming appointees reported directly to the base of the ramp in between Fairchild and Vandenberg Halls. Every in-processing since has started at Doolittle Hall, with the exception of 2012, when it was moved to the Field House due to the Waldo Canyon Fire.
1 July 1996 -- After receiving waivers for several years that allowed Academy women's teams to compete at the Division II level, the programs were moved to Division I.
1 July 1998 -- Brigadier General David Wagie, Class of '72, becomes Dean of the Faculty, taking over from Brigadier General Ruben Cubero, Class of '61.
1 July 1999 -- The Academy becomes a charter member of the Mountain West Conference.
1 July 2008 -- The Friends of the Air Force Academy Library's comprehensive Memorial Wall project is opened on the Friends website. This project includes more than 40,000 pages of information on graduates whose names appear on the Memorial Wall.
1 July 2008 -- Anthony Aretz, Class of '80, assumes the presidency of the College of Mount Saint Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1 July 2013 -- The Air Force Academy Athletic Corporation (AFAAC) is established. The AFAAC generates revenue to support Air Force intercollegiate athletics and promotes the Air Force Academy to the nation through athletics. As part of the transition, the Athletic Department's non-appropriated fund instrumentality (NAFI) was dissolved, and the 83 NAFI employees were retired or separated. Many of them then joined the AFAAC staff.
2 July 1926 -- Congress passes the Army Air Corps Act. The law changed the name of the air service and provided for an Assistant Secretary of War of Air. This was another step toward a separate service, and then a separate academy.
2 July 2010 -- Captain David Wisniewski, Class of '02, dies of injuries suffered on 9 June 2010 during Operation Enduring Freedom when the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter he was piloting was shot down as the crew prepared to evacuate wounded British troops near Forward Operating Base Jackson, Afghanistan. Four airmen were killed and three others wounded, including Wisniewski. He died at Bethesda Naval Hospital, Maryland. His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
3 July 1963 -- Special Order G-53, officially designating the Academy golf course as the "Eisenhower Golf Course" is signed by Major James Hargeaves, Director of Administrative Services, USAFA.
3 July 1980 -- Glacier, a white phase gyrfalcon, is taken from its nest in the Seward Peninsula, Alaska, by an Academy-sponsored search team led by Dr. James Enderson. Glacier, who served at the Academy until its death in 1995, is on display in the Field House concourse.
3 July 1983 -- Two world records are set on the Academy track during the National Sports Festival (an Olympic-type event). In a span of 15 minutes, Evelyn Ashford and Calvin Smith broke the world records in 100-meter dashes. This was the first time that the two 100-meter records had fallen in the same day.
3 July 1989 -- The P-51 Mustang statue is dedicated. The memorial, sculpted by Robert Henderson and displayed on the Honor Court, was donated by the P-51 Mustang Pilots Association.
3 July 1997 -- The base paper undergoes its second name change, from The Falcon Flyer to The Academy Spirit. The Director of Public Affairs, Lieutenant Colonel Doug McCoy, wrote the cover story. In it, he said the Falcon Flyer name didn't evoke thoughts of the Air Force Academy, with readers thinking it was the paper of the Falcon School District or Falcon Air Force Base. The new name, he said, is identifiable and "represents who and what we are."
4 July 1986 -- The Cadet Chorale sings at the Statue of Liberty Rededication Ceremonies held at Liberty State Park, New Jersey.
6 July 1975 -- The Convair T-29 Samaritan ("Flying Classroom"), used as a navigation trainer at the Academy since 1955, is replaced by the Boeing T43A Gator (as in "navigator").
6 July 1985 -- Members of the Class of '89 begin their cadet careers with in-processing at Doolittle Hall. The Class was the first to participate in the Life Membership at Grad (LMAG) program initiated by the Association of Graduates (AOG). LMAG allows cadets to pay dues throughout their cadet careers and graduate with a paid-up life membership in the AOG.
7 July 1955 -- Architect Frank Lloyd Wright testifies to Congress in opposition to the Skidmore, Owings and Merrill design for the new Air Force Academy. Mr. Wright had been a partner in Kittyhawk Associates, one of the consortiums that did not win the contract. He called the design a "shocking fiasco," "half baked," and "a glassified box on stilts," among other things.
7 July 1965 -- Captain Thomas Sanders, Class of '61, is killed when the O-1F aircraft he was piloting crashes on takeoff from Camp Holloway near Pleiku, South Vietnam. He was recovered unconscious from the wreckage, but died en route to the field hospital without gaining consciousness. His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
7 July 2006 -- Air Force men's gymnastics coach Kip Simons is inducted into the Ohio State University Athletics Hall of Fame. He was a four-time All-Big Ten honoree and conference champion, and two-time All-American. He represented the United States at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
8 July 1954 -- The academy selection board begins interviewing representatives of eight firms that had expressed an interest in the academy project. These sessions took place in the Pentagon.
8 July 1954 -- Approximately 50 Colorado businessmen attend a luncheon at the Broadmoor Hotel to form an organization to be known as the Air Academy in Colorado Foundation, Inc. A news story covering the event stated the group was being formed "to assist the federal government in any way that may develop in the establishment of the multi-million dollar Air Force Academy 10 miles north of Colorado Springs."
8 July 1963 -- Former President Dwight Eisenhower personally dedicates the Academy's Eisenhower Golf Course's Blue Course by hitting a tee shot off the Number 1 tee. The driver used by General Eisenhower is displayed in the Eisenhower Room of the clubhouse.
8 July 1972 -- Steve Ritchie, Class of '64, shoots down two MiG-21s, his third and fourth kills en route to becoming the first Air Force Academy graduate pilot ace. He was the Air Force's only pilot ace of the Vietnam War.
8 July 1994 -- Lieutenant General Paul Stein, Class of '66, becomes the Academy's thirteenth Superintendent (and second Academy graduate Superintendent), succeeding Lieutenant General Bradley Hosmer, Class of '59 (the first Academy grad Superintendent).
9 July 1955 -- The Thunderbirds (U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron) makes its first Air Force Academy-related flight, at Lowry AFB, Colorado. The team also flew the next day at the Pikes Peak Air Rodeo, and on 11 July 1955 at the Academy dedication ceremony.
9 July 1962 -- Major General Robert Warren succeeds Major General William Stone as the Academy Superintendent. General Warren was the fourth Superintendent.
9 July 1963 -- Construction of the Cadet Chapel is declared "essentially completed." The building would be dedicated in September.
9 July 1989 -- Brigadier General Joseph Redden, Class of '64, becomes the Academy's 15th Commandant of Cadets.
9 July 2003 -- Lieutenant General John Rosa Jr. becomes the Academy's fifteenth Superintendent.
9 July 2010 -- Brigadier General Richard Clark, Class of '86, becomes the first African-American Commandant of Cadets.
10 July 1960 -- Major General William Stone, Air Force Academy Superintendent, receives The Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant, one of Thailand's highest military decorations, from King Bhumibol.
11 July 1955 -- The first class, consisting of 306 young men, begins training at Lowry AFB site in Denver. Valmore Bourque was the first cadet sworn in (and in 1964 became the first graduate killed in combat). The dedication ceremony was covered live on television with Walter Cronkite reporting.
12 July 1955 -- Responding to public criticism of the Academy design, the House Appropriations Committee announces it would withhold funds for the Academy "until the design is more firmly established."
12 July 1967 -- Captain Charles Moore, Class of '62, is killed when his F-100D is hit by automatic weapons fire, catches fire and crashes. He had been making his first run over suspected military buildings about 15 miles south of Saigon. His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
12 July 1975 -- First Lieutenant Dean Kinder, Class of '73, a faculty member, is killed in the crash of a single-engine Cessna 150 aircraft near Monument, Colorado.
12 July 1997 -- The Superintendent, Lieutenant General Paul Stein, Class of '66, receives the Order of the Sword. The Order of the Sword is presented by enlisted members to an officer who they feel epitomizes officership.
12 July 2009 -- The Academy's Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) program begins. Four cadets were hand-picked to serve as the first cadre in the program. They spent time at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, home to the MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle. The Academy was the first service academy to begin a UAS program.
13 July 1983 -- Colonel Ervin Rokke, Class of '62, who had become the first Air Force Academy graduate to serve as Dean of the Faculty on 1 July, is promoted to Brigadier General. He had also been the first Air Force Academy graduate to be appointed a permanent professor.
14 July 1954 -- A non-profit corporation, "The Air Academy in Colorado Foundation, Incorporated," is incorporated in Colorado Springs. The purpose of the foundation was to "Assist and contribute to the establishment, maintenance, growth, and development of the United States Air Force Academy . . . .".
14 July 1969 -- Six cadets from the Ecole de l'Air, the French Air Force Academy, arrive at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and nine USAFA cadets depart to spend a semester at the Ecole de l'Air. They are the first cadets to study as part of a semester-long international exchange program.
15 July 1954 -- At a board meeting of the Air Academy in Colorado Foundation, Inc., the board is expanded to include Governor Dan Thornton and others. In addition, it was resolved the Secretary of the Air Force, Harold E. Talbott, be elected a board member and named honorary chairman.
15 July 1955 -- The American Institute of Architects weighs in on the on-going controversy over the Academy design, defending the architects and urging that the project go forward as designed.
17 July 1955 -- The Academy's first worship service is held at the Academy's temporary site at Lowry AFB, Colorado.
17 July 1982 -- At a special meeting of the Board of the Falcon Foundation, the newly-elected President, Lieutenant General (Retired) Ben Bellis, is directed to move the offices to Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Foundation had been based in Dallas since its 1958 incorporation. The move to Colorado Springs took place later that year.
17 July 2006 -- Brigadier General Suzanne Vautrinot, Class of '82, assumes command of the Air Force Recruiting Service at a Randolph Air Force Base ceremony. In doing so, she became the first female to lead Air Force recruiting in the service's 52-year history.
17 July 2009 -- The Child Development Center (CDC) is named for Donna Head. Mrs. Head, the Chief of Family Member Programs, including oversight of the CDC, the Youth Center, Youth Sports, Family Child Care, and Part Day Enrichment Programs, died in December 2007 after being struck by a vehicle on Academy grounds.
17 July 2009 -- Captain Mark McDowell, Class of '05, is killed during Operation Enduring Freedom when his F-15E went down after flying for several hours in support of ground troops in the Nawur district, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
18 July 1976 -- Bob Nieman, Class of '70, becomes the first Academy graduate to compete in the Olympic Games. He competed in the Modern Pentathlon in Montreal, Canada, finishing 26th in the individual standings and fifth in the team event. He also competed in the 1988 Olympic Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea, 18-22 September 1988.
18 July 2006 -- Colonel (Dr.) John Putnam becomes the first medical entomologist to chair the Department of Biology. Medical entomology is the study of insects, spiders, ticks, and mites, collectively referred to as arthropods, and the diseases they transmit.
19 July 1954 -- General Hubert Harmon recommends Lowry Air Force Base, Denver, as the temporary home of the Air Force Academy. On the same day, Secretary of the Air Force Harold E. Talbott makes it official.
19 July 1971 -- Chemistry Professors Lieutenant Colonel Lowell King and Major David Seegmiller are awarded a 1970 Air Force Research and Development Award for creating a battery which produced more energy and was more practical than existing battery power systems.
20 July 1969 -- The Apollo 11 lunar mission puts the first men on the moon. Approximately six hours after landing, Colonel Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin becomes the second man to walk on the moon. In 1955 and 1956, as a First Lieutenant, he had been a member of the original Academy cadre at Lowry Air Force Base, serving as Aide to the Dean off the Faculty.
20 July 1999 -- Construction is officially completed for the Rampart Lodge's 20-room, four-building Temporary Lodging Facilities complex, Buildings 6260-6263.
21 July 1921 -- Army Brigadier General Billy Mitchell, namesake of the Academy cadet dining hall, conducts a test in which bombers sink the captured German battleship Ostfriesland off the coast of Virginia. This success further demonstrated the value of air power and eventually led to the establishment of the Air Force, and then it's Academy.
21 July 1986 -- The Department of Economics and the Office of Geography are joined into a single unit, the Department of Economics and Geography.
21 July 1997 -- Work begins on the mural on display in the Field House over the track area. The project, depicting Academy life in all four seasons, was commissioned by the Class of '76. The artist, Michael Esch, completed the project in October 1997. At 40 feet by 320 feet, it is one of the largest permanently hung murals in the world.
21 July 2011 -- The Space Shuttle Atlantis lands at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, concluding the final flight in the Space Transportation System program that consisted of 135 missions over thirty years. Thirty-six Air Force Academy graduates flew aboard missions on NASA's space shuttle fleet -- Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour.
22 July 1954 -- Brigadier General Don Zimmerman becomes the first Dean of the Faculty.
22 July 1975 -- Brigadier General Stanley Beck replaces Brigadier General Hoyt S. Vandenberg Jr. to become the ninth Commandant of Cadets.
22 July 1976 -- Captain Phil Boggs, then a staff officer at the Academy, wins the men's three meter springboard title at the Olympic Summer Games in Montreal, Canada.
22 July 1976 -- Casey Converse, who would go on to a long and successful coaching career at the Academy, swims the 400 freestyle at the Olympic Summer Games in Montreal, Canada.
22 July 2011 -- The Holaday Athletic Center is dedicated. The 92,000 square foot facility cost $15.5 million, entirely provided through private donations. This was the first major project for the USAFA Endowment, a fund-raising foundation established in 2007.
23 July 1954 -- The architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill is awarded the contract to design and built the Air Force Academy. Walter Andrew Netsch Jr., age 34, was lead architect of the project.
23 July 1955 -- The Senate votes to restore $79 million in funding to the academy project that had been withheld pending architectural revisions. Given continuing concerns over the design, the amount was reduced to $20 million three days later in a conference committee.
23 July 1972 -- First Lieutenant Stephen Gravrock, Class of '70, is killed during a dusk ground support mission near An Loc, South Vietnam, when the A-37 aircraft he was piloting was struck by hostile ground fire and crashed. His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
23 July 1973 -- Aviation pioneer, World War I fighter ace, and Medal of Honor recipient Eddie Rickenbacker passes away. He had visited the Academy on at least two occasions, in 1967 and January 1969. The Class of '04 chose him as its exemplar.
23 July 2006 -- Lieutenant Colonel Tim Lawrence, Class of '88 and a Department of Astronautical Engineering professor, sets a world record in long-distance swimming. He became only the sixth person, and the first American, to swim the 14.8 nautical miles from Britain's Jersey Island to France, in the process lowering the best overall time to 8 hours, 21 minutes, 17 seconds.
24 July 1968 -- Captain Harley Hackett, Class of '65, and First Lieutenant John Bush, Class of '66, are killed when their F-4D crashes into the sea following an armed reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. Their names appear on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
25 July 1993 -- The carillon bell system becomes operational, after being silent for six years. The American Legion donated the Academy's original bells in 1961. They played until 1987, when the system became so obsolete that parts were not available for the needed repairs.
25 July 1997 -- One month after its third fatal T-3A crash the Academy, the Air Force grounds the aircraft. It would be permanently grounded two years later.
25 July 2010 -- The Colorado Springs Gazette publishes its list of the 25 best football players in Academy history. Included were the Academy's five consensus All-Americans: Brock Strom, Class of '59; Ernie Jennings, Class of '71; Scott Thomas, Class of '86; Chad Hennings, Class of '88; and Carlton McDonald, Class of '93.
26 July 1942 -- Lieutenant Colonel Albert Patton Clark, who would serve as the Academy's Superintendent from 1970 to 1974, is shot down in combat over France while flying a Spitfire with the RAF. He was taken prisoner by the Germans and held in Stalag Luft III for the duration of the War. During his thirty-three months of imprisonment, he directed security activities in preparation for The Great Escape, an operation immortalized in the 1963 movie starring Steve McQueen.
26 July 1947 -- President Harry S Truman signs the National Security Act, creating the Department of Defense and a separate Air Force.
26 July 1962 -- Six Academy cadets begin a 15-day stay in the crew compartment of a simulated space vehicle. While performing tasks similar to those in actual space travel, they proved that astronauts could perform well as a team.
27 July 1954 -- Brigadier General Hubert Harmon becomes the Academy's first Superintendent. He had been intimately involved in all planning for the Academy, dating back to the 1940s, when he headed the office of the special assistant for Air Force Academy and served on commissions to determine the Academy program, as well as its ultimate location.
27 July 1956 -- General Hubert R. Harmon, the first Academy Superintendent, retires. He would pass away less than a year later, before the first class graduated.
27 July 1962 -- Time Magazine weighs in on the controversy over the Cadet Chapel design with a positive review. It concludes that the Chapel " . . . is in perfect harmony with the spirit of the Academy . . . and its spires do not merely point, they soar."
27 July 1996 -- Secretary of the Air Force Sheila Widnall cuts the ribbon at the dedication ceremony for the new Consolidated Education and Training Facility (CETF). The $34 million project houses laboratories, classrooms, offices, and medical facilities.
28 July 1919 -- California Congressman Charles F. Curry introduces legislation providing for an air academy. The legislation failed amid disputes about cost, operation, curriculum (to include the amount of flying training), and location. He is decades ahead of his time, as it would be another 35 years, decades after his 1930 death, until his dream is realized.
28 July 1956 -- Major General James E. Briggs becomes the Academy's second Superintendent.
28 July 1967 -- First Lieutenant Karl Richter, Class of '64, is shot down and killed on his 198th combat mission. He was leading an F-105D two-ship west of Dong Hoi when his aircraft was struck by anti-aircraft artillery fire. He ejected and landed on a sharp rocky cliff. He was rescued by an HH-3, but died in the helicopter. His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo, and the Richter Lounge in Arnold Hall is named for him.
28 July 1989 -- The Academy hosts the new Colorado State Games. Over the 28-30 July period, the Academy hosted 17 events in the competition that was open to all age groups. The Academy also hosted Colorado State Games events in 1990 and 1991.
28 July 2011 -- Academy head football coach Troy Calhoun, Class of '89, and his wife, Amanda, conduct the first annual Football 101 event, designed to increase football awareness among female fans. The 300 attendees had access to the AFA locker room, a Falcon Stadium field tour, cocktails, dinner and an athletic fashion show.
29 July 1961 - Academy officials, led by Colonel Edward Stealy, deputy base commander, dedicate the Pioneer Cemetery in Douglass Valley. A plaque memorializing the first settlers in the area was unveiled. Capps Cabin, the oldest structure on Academy property, was also dedicated.
29 July 1969 -- The North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools reaccredits the Academy as a bachelor's degree granting institution.
29 July 1985 -- The Office of the Academic Dean of the USAFA Preparatory School is created. This action consolidated all academic activities under one person. Lieutenant Colonel John McGrath was the first Academic Dean. The new position also allowed the creation of two new directorates - Academic Support and Information Services.
29 July 2004 -- The Academy and the Association of Graduates begin co-hosting a three-day Graduate Leadership Conference. Nearly 200 graduates, military and civilian, returned to the Academy to interact with Academy senior staff, tour facilities, learn about the Academy's status and future plans, and to provide input.
30 July 1965 -- Colonel James Wilson becomes the first permanent professor to retire. He was awarded the retirement rank of brigadier general.
30 July 1977 -- President Jimmy Carter signs Public Law 95-79, separating cadet pay from its previous basis of 50 percent of the pay of a second lieutenant with less than two years of service, the historic formula used since the Academy opened in 1955.
30 July 1993 -- The Center for Character Development is established. Its purpose was to oversee development of philosophy and methodologies for character development across the Academy, including the administration of the Cadet Honor Code and the integration of human relations training.
31 July 1965 -- First Lieutenant Donald Watson, Class of '62, is killed when his F-100D crashes while attacking a Viet Cong headquarters north of Saigon. His name appears on the War Memorial on the Academy Terrazzo.
31 July 1968 -- Brigadier General Robert McDermott retires from his post as Dean of Faculty after 12 years in the position. He would move to San Antonio, Texas, as president of the United Services Automobile Association, an insurance company serving military officers.
31 July 1980 -- Colonel John May, Class of '61, becomes the second Academy graduate to be appointed a Permanent Professor. He was appointed Head of the Department of Physics.
31 July 1991 -- Colonel Ken Schweitzer assumes the position of Director of the Athletic Department. He followed Colonel John Clune, who has served as Athletic Director since 1975.
31 July 1996 -- David DeGraaf, Class of '93, represents the United States in team handball at the Atlanta Olympic Games. During the USA vs. Kuwait game, he scored an Olympic record 13 goals and had an Olympic record 7 blocked shots.
31 July 2006 -- Legendary wrestling coach Wayne Baughman's retires after coaching at the Academy for 27 years. An NCAA champion while at the University of Oklahoma, Baughman competed on three Olympic teams, eight World Championship teams and one Pan American Games team. In addition, he coached in the 1976 and 1980 Olympics, as well as five World Championship teams and a Pan American Games team.
Peterson Air Force Base is hosting a memorial 5K run to honor Capt. David Lyon, who was killed in action on Dec. 27, 2013 while conducting combat operations near Kabul, Afghanistan. The run is sponsored by the 21 Logistics Readiness Center and takes place Friday, June 27, at 1 p.m. at Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs.
Lyon, a 2008 Academy graduate, was a three-year letter winner for the Falcons' track and field team and a Mountain West champion in the shot put. A member of the 21st Logistics Readiness Squadron out of Peterson AFB, Lyon was killed when a vehicle-born improvised explosive device was detonated near his convoy.
Serving a year-long deployment to Afghanistan, Lyon was performing a combat advisory mission with Afghan National Army Commandos and working with the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan. He was scheduled to return to Colorado in February.
Known as David Lissy during his time with the Falcons' track and field program, the native of Sandpoint, Idaho, served as a team captain during the 2007-08 season, while earning a conference title in the shot put at the 2008 MW Indoor Championships. He is still ranked third on the Academy's all-time list in both the indoor and outdoor shot put, highlighted by a throw of 57'11" during the 2008 indoor season.
A recipient of the track and field program's Laura Piper Ironman Award (named after a 1991 Academy graduate and former Air Force thrower who was killed in action during Operation Provide Comfort), Lyon was named to the National Strength and Conditioning Association All-American team, which honored his excellence in strength training.
To register for the event, please click on the link below:
Chris Howard, a 1991 graduate of the Air Force Academy and two-year football lettermen, is featured below in the National Football Foundation countdown to the 25th Campbell Trophy, awared to the best scholar-athlete in college football. Howard was the winner in 1990.
25 Weeks to the 25th Campbell Trophy: Chris Howard - 1990
In recognition of the 25th Anniversary of the William
V. Campbell Trophy, which will be awarded Dec. 9 to the
absolute best scholar-athlete in the country for his academic success, football
performance and exemplary community leadership, the NFF will highlight one of
the previous winners each week until the 57th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the
Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
This week's honoree is running back Chris Howard, an Academic All-American at Air Force who received the inaugural Campbell Trophy in 1990. Currently the President at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, Howard's "partial" list of accomplishments includes earning his wings as a helicopter pilot, serving in Afghanistan as an intelligence officer where he earned a Bronze Star, Harvard MBA, manager of a $100 million Bristol-Myers Squibb HIV/AIDS initiative in southern Africa, founder of a non-profit foundation and a member of General Electric's Corporate Initiative Group. Click here to learn more about Howard.
The following link is to a story in the Colorado Springs Gazette about volleyball Emma Dridge and her participation in the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Dridge was one of two student-athletes from the SAAC committee to attend a recent Mountain West board of director's meeting. Gazette reporter Brent Briggeman talked with Dridge about the experience.
Full release here: http://www.themw.com/#!/news-detail/mw_14_bod_saac_06-02-14_yfym83
THIS DAY IN AIR FORCE ACADEMY HISTORY - JUNE
STEVEN A. SIMON, USAFA '77
ACADEMY DEVELOPMENT AND ALUMNI PROGRAMS OFFICE
1 June 1954 -- The Air Force Academy Project office is superseded by the newly created Air Force Academy Construction Agency. The Agency's mission, like that of the Project Office, was "to direct the planning, designing and construction of an Air Force Academy. Colonel Leo Erler was appointed as its first director. Congress approved this limited-time agency because Air Force officials did not want the Army (Corps of Engineers) involved in the planning and construction of the Academy.
1 June 1959 -- The cadet dormitory is officially named Vandenberg Hall, after General Hoyt Vandenberg, the second Air Force Chief of Staff, who made many key decisions in the Academy's formulation, to include selecting General Hubert Harmon as its first Superintendent. General Vandenberg's widow and son attended the ceremony. That son, Captain Hoyt Vandenberg Jr., would go on to be the Academy Commandant of Cadets in the 1970s. This was the last of five building dedications to take place during a three-day period.
1 June 1977 -- The "Tail End Charlie" tradition ends with the graduation of the Class of '77. The 19-year practice had every member of the class give a silver dollar to the classmate graduating last in the order of merit. The incoming Superintendent, Lieutenant General Kenneth Tallman, would end the custom because he believed it was not appropriate to recognize a graduate for being the lowest ranking member of his class. John McNulty was the final "Tail End Charlie."
1 June 1980 -- The Department of Chemistry and Biological Sciences is split into two departments. Colonel Harvey Schiller became the first head of the Department of Chemistry and Colonel Orwyn Sampson became the first head of the Department of Biology.
1 June 1981 -- Colonel Jock Schwank, Class of '60, becomes the first Academy graduate to serve as Preparatory School Commander.
1 June 1981 -- Second Lieutenant Michelle Johnson, Class of '81, becomes the first female cadet selected for a Rhodes scholarship.
1 June 1981 -- The Department of Economics, Geography, and Management is reorganized into the Department of Economics, the Department of Management, and the Office of Instruction for Geography. The Office of Instruction for Geography became part of the Department of Law.
1 June 1982 -- The Department of Astronautics and Computer Science is split into two separate departments.
1 June 1982 -- The Thunderbird Overlook is dedicated. It contained a T-38 Talon painted in the Thunderbirds paint scheme, with the number 1 on the tail. The aircraft was given to the Academy in 1981 by Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. The Association of Graduates was instrumental in funding the Overlook. An A-10 was added in 2002.
1 June 1992 -- The Cadet Wing Hostess Office is eliminated. The decision was primarily economy-driven. In 2008, the Superintendent, Lieutenant General John Regni, Class of '73, re-established the position.
1 June 1998 -- Colonel Hedy Pinkerton becomes the first female Director of Admissions.
1 June 1999 -- The Air Officer Commanding (AOC) master's program begins, whereby incoming AOCs study and receive a master's degree in counseling from the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs at the conclusion of their AOC training.
1 June 2003 -- The Cadet Counseling Center is administratively moved from Dean of the Faculty to the Commandant of Cadets and is renamed the Academy Counseling Center.
1 June 2004 -- Charles Baldwin, Class of '69, is promoted to the rank of Major General and becomes the first Academy graduate to serve as Air Force Chief of Chaplains.
1 June 2012 -- Tom Krise, Class of '83, becomes the thirteenth president of Pacific Lutheran University.
2 June 1954 -- The official plan for Academy flight training is established. Graduates would be qualified as aircraft observers and navigator-bombardiers. Familiarization with flying as pilots would be provided, but graduates would not be qualified as pilots. The type and amount of flying training to be conducted at the Academy had been a contentious subject for decades.
2 June 1972 -- Captain Dale Stoval, Class of '67, flies the mission for which he would receive the Academy's 1973 Colonel James Jabara Award for Airmanship. He penetrated the heavily defended Red River Valley of North Vietnam in his Jolly Green HH-53 helicopter, repeatedly braving MIGs, SAMs, anti-aircraft artillery fire, and ground forces, to rescue a fellow airman. He also received the Air Force Cross for his actions on the mission.
2 June 1975 -- The Academy becomes the first service academy and the first military installation to receive dual recognition as a National Bicentennial Site.
2 June 1987 -- The Friends of the Air Force Academy Library is approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) Corporation. The Friends was established to enhance the quality of the McDermott Library as an educational, research, scientific and cultural institution.
2 June 1999 -- President William J. Clinton is the graduation speaker.
2 June 2004 -- President George W. Bush is the graduation speaker.
3 June 1954 -- The Air Force Academy Site Selection Commission recommends that one of three sites be chosen as the academy's home: Alton, Illinois; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
3 June 1959 -- The first class graduates. The ceremony was held in Arnold Hall, and it remains the only indoor graduation in Academy history. Secretary of the Air Force James Douglas and Air Force Chief of Staff General Thomas D. White officiated. The 207 graduates in the Class of '59 began the "Long Blue Line."
3 June 1976 -- Air Force Cadet Regulation 50-1, Training: Fourth Class System, is published. It contains guidance for training the first female cadets, who would arrive later in the month.
4 June 1958 -- The Department of Graphics is deactivated.
4 June 1969 -- President Richard M. Nixon delivers the graduation address to the Class of '69, the largest (683) class to graduate to that time.
4 June 1974 -- The Strategic Air Command's Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird makes its first appearance at the Academy's graduation festivities.
4 June 1975 -- The Class of '75 graduates. The class had an attrition rate of 46.19%, the highest in Academy history.
4 June 1986 -- The Barry M. Goldwater Visitor Center, dedicated on 27 May, opens to the public.
4 June 1993 -- The P-47 Thunderbolt statue is dedicated. The memorial, sculpted by Robert Henderson, is displayed on the Honor Court.
5 June 1963 -- President John F. Kennedy speaks at the Class of '63's graduation, the first graduation ceremony in Falcon Stadium, and the first time a president participated in an Air Force Academy graduation. The first three African-American graduates of the Air Force Academy are in the Class of '63 - Charles Bush, Isaac Payne, and Roger Sims.
5 June 2012 -- Janet Wolfenbarger, Class of '80, becomes the Air Force and the Air Force Academy's first female four-star general as she assumes command of Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
6 June 1961 -- Secretary of the Air Force Eugene M. Zuckert, at the Academy for the graduation of the class of '61, officiates at the pouring of the first concrete in the construction of Falcon Stadium.
6 June 1965 -- The song "The Ramparts" is debuted at a concert in Arnold Hall. The song, commissioned by the Air Force Academy Welfare Fund in commemoration of the Academy's tenth anniversary, was written by Clifton Williams.
6 June 1987 -- T. Allan McArtor, Class of '64, named by President Ronald Reagan to head the Federal Aviation Administration. He served from 22 July 1987 until 17 February 1989.
7 June 1967 -- With the increase in the number of cadets, the Cadet Wing is expanded into five groups, each with six squadrons. After one year, the Wing was returned to a four group configuration.
7 June 2000 -- The Superintendent, Lieutenant General Tad Oelstrom, Class of '65, receives the Order of the Sword. The Order of the Sword is presented by enlisted members to an officer who they feel epitomizes officership.
8 June 1966 -- The first three foreign national cadets to complete four years at the Academy receive their diplomas.
8 June 1996 -- The Association of Graduates purchases a gyrfalcon and presents it to the Academy. The cadets name the white falcon Aurora.
8 June 2007 -- The Academy announces the inaugural class for induction into the Air Force Academy Athletic Hall of Fame. The class is comprised of Olympic champion sprinter Alonzo Babers (Class of '83), basketball players Bob Beckel ('59) and Michelle Johnson ('81), former athletic director Colonel John Clune (Navy, '54), and football players Brock Strom (59) and Chad Hennings ('88).
9 June 2000 -- Major General John Dallager, Class of '69, becomes the Academy's 15th Superintendent. He would pin on his third star on 1 August 2000.
9 June 2006 -- Ten days after graduating, Second Lieutenant Dana Pounds, Class of '06, defends her national javelin title at the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, California. She became the Academy's first back-to-back champion at the Division I level.
9 June 2009 -- Lieutenant General Mike Gould, Class of '76, becomes the Academy's eighteenth Superintendent, assuming command from Lieutenant General John Regni, Class of '73.
10 June 2005 -- Cadet Dana Pounds, Class of '06, wins the national javelin title at the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, California. She became the Academy's first female national champion at the Division I level, and the first track and field champion since Cadet Callie Calhoun, Class of '91, won the 10,000 meter title at the 1991 Division II national meet.
11 June 2013 -- The Black Forest Fire starts just east of the Academy. For the second time in two years, the Academy and Academy personnel were threatened by a large wildfire. Again, the Academy fire department and other agencies responded. Two people were killed in the fire, including Robin Herklotz, Class of '84, and her husband Marc.
12 June 1956 -- The first Athletic Awards Banquet is held, in the Cadet Dining Hall.
12 June 1982 -- Brigadier General Anthony Burschnick, Class of '60, becomes the Academy Commandant of Cadets. He was the second Academy graduate to serve a Commandant, immediately following the first, Brigadier General Bob Beckel, Class of '59.
12 June 2007 -- Colonel (Retired) Michael Butler, Class of 1976, is killed near Tikrit, Iraq. Colonel Butler was working as a civilian contractor with the Civilian Police Advisory Training Team.
13 June 2011 -- Officials from the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs Utilities and SunPower Corporation flip a switch signifying the official dedication of the Academy's 6-megawatt solar array. The array, near the Academy's South Gate, constitutes about 11 percent of the Academy's overall electricity needs: about 12,000 megawatt-hours per year, or enough to power more than 1,200 average homes.
14 June 1986 -- Brigadier General Sam Westbrook III, Class of '63, assumes command of CW, making him the fourth consecutive Air Force Academy graduate to serve as Commandant of Cadets.
14 June 2013 -- The Academy holds the funeral of Brigadier General Alfred F. Hurley, USAF, Retired, former Permanent Professor for the Department of History. The event took place in the Catholic Cadet Chapel.
15 June 1939 -- Lieutenant Colonel Robert Crawford unveils his "Army Air Corps" song ("Off we go, into the wild blue yonder...."). Officially performed for the first time later in the year, the song would eventually become closely associated with the Air Force Academy.
15 June 1963 -- The Falcon Foundation Scholarship Fund Drive begins.
15 June 2008 -- Walter Netsch, lead architect of the Air Force Academy, passes away in Chicago.
16 June 1981 -- Major General Robert Kelley succeeds Lieutenant General Kenneth Tallman as Academy Superintendent.
16 June 1983 -- Lieutenant General Winfield "Skip" Scott becomes the Academy's tenth Superintendent, assuming command from Major General Robert Kelley.
16 June 1997 -- The Academy Superintendent, Lieutenant General Paul Stein, Class of '66, receives the 1997 All-American Football Foundation's Outstanding College President's Award at the foundation's banquet.
16 June 2005 -- Captain Nicole Malachowski, Class of 1996, is announced as the first female Thunderbird pilot. She flew with the demonstration team from November 2005 until November 2007.
17 June 2002 -- The Hayman Fire west of the Academy forces the evacuation of the Farish Recreation Camp and the Academy's Combat Survival Training site in the Pike National Forest.
17 June 2004 -- The Class of '59 dedicates the Challenge Bridge outside Doolittle Hall. The stone and mortar structure serves as a gateway to the Heritage Trail and is intended to inspire cadets to reflect on the oath of service and commitment they have chosen for their lives.
18 June 1999 -- Brigadier General Mark Welsh III, Class of '76, becomes the Commandant of Cadets. General Welsh would go on to become the fourth Air Force Academy graduate to serve as Air Force Chief of Staff.
19 June 1961 -- Brigadier General William Seawell becomes the Academy's third Commandant of Cadets.
19 June 1964 -- Cadet Jim Murphy, Class of '66, becomes the Academy's first athlete to win an NCAA individual national championship by finishing in a tie for first place in the 5,000 meter run at the NCAA Track and Field National Championships in Eugene, Oregon. He was also the first cadet selected to participate in the Olympic Trials--the top three runners qualified for the Olympics, and he finished fourth.
19 June 1965 -- Brigadier General Louis Seith becomes Commandant of Cadets, succeeding Brigadier General Robert Strong.
20 June 1961 -- Major Frederick Gillen and Captain Patrick Slezak, both assigned to the Academy Athletic Department, are killed in the crash of a T-33 near Lowry Air Force Base. The Gillen-Slezak Trophy, the Intercollegiate Athletics Award, is presented each year in their memory. The Trophy is displayed in the Athletic Hall of Excellence.
20 June 1991 -- The Academy and the Academy Research and Development Institute (ARDI) sign a Memorandum of Agreement. The document was signed by Academy Superintendent Lieutenant General Charles R. Hamm, and ARDI President, retired Brigadier General Philip J. Erdle.
21 June 2010 -- Colonel Tamra Rank, Class of '83, becomes the first female Vice Superintendent in Academy history.
22 June 1942 -- General of the Air Force Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, namesake of the Academy's Arnold Hall, is featured on the cover of Time Magazine.
22 June 1955 -- The Academy Superintendent, Lieutenant General Hubert Harmon, sends a letter to District 20 School Board President, Russell Wolfe, requesting a statement of District 20's desire and capabilities to support the educational needs of the Air Force Academy's dependents. The District response indicated that it did not have the funds to build a school, but would operate a school if the Air Force furnished the facility.
22 June 1959 -- The Air Force Academy is featured on the cover of Life Magazine, weeks after its first class graduates. The article is titled: "Party: A Festive Week in the Air Force Academy: Girls and Weddings Grace a Graduation." The June 1959 issue of National Geographic also covered the Academy in a colorful 30-page spread.
22 June 1973 -- General Jimmy Doolittle, leader of the Doolittle Raid, visits the Academy.
22 June 2011 -- The General Dynamics MQ-1B Predator drone, hanging inverted from the Mitchell Hall ceiling, is dedicated.
23 June 1998 -- Heather A. Wilson, Class of 1982, is elected to the United States House of Representatives, making her not only the first Academy graduate elected to the House, but also the first female veteran in American history to serve in Congress.
23 June 2012 -- The Waldo Canyon Fire starts in the foothills south and west of the Academy. By the time the fire was under control, 81,000 acres had burned, including a small portion of Academy land, roughly 140 acres in the southwest corner of the reservation.
24 June 1954 -- Secretary of the Air Force Harold E. Talbott announces Colorado Springs would become the permanent home of the Air Force Academy. He also announces that Denver, Colorado, would become the interim home of the Air Force Academy and tasked General Hubert Harmon to evaluate possible sites.
25 June 1949 -- J. Douglas Crouch, Military Affairs Chairman of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, sends a letter to Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington, recommending Colorado Springs as "an ideal location for the proposed United States Airforce Academy."
25 June 1954 -- Chaplain, Colonel John S. Bennett and Chaplain, Colonel Constantine E. Zielinski report for duty as the Academy's first Protestant and Catholic chaplains, respectively.
25 June 1991 -- Lieutenant General Bradley Hosmer, Class of '59, becomes the first Air Force Academy graduate to serve as Superintendent.
25 June 1997 -- A T-3A Firefly crashes near Research Parkway and Explorer Drive, east of the Academy, taking the lives of Captain Glen Comeaux and Cadet Pace Weber, Class of '98. This was the third T-3 crash at the Academy, leading to the plane's grounding a month later.
25 June 1999 -- The San Antonio Spurs, coached by Gregg Popovich, Class of '70, win the National Basketball Association championship. It is the first of four championships the Popovich-led team would win.
25 June 2012 -- The Academy conducts a change-of-command ceremony at which Brigadier General Gregory Lengyel becomes the Commandant of Cadets.
25 June 2013 -- Brigadier General Andrew Armacost succeeds Brigadier General Dana Born, Class of '83, as Dean of the Faculty.
26 June 1959 -- The first three Falcon Scholars, sponsored by the Falcon Foundation, entered the Academy with the Class of '63.
26 June 1967 -- Colonel Frank Merritt becomes the Director of Athletics. He would serve in this position until June 1975.
26 June 1978 -- The Class of '82 enters the Academy, with the first five cadets in history who were dependents of Academy alumni.
26 June 1987 -- The Academy conducts a change-of-command, at which Lieutenant General Charles Hamm becomes the Academy Superintendent.
26 June 1992 -- Brigadier General Richard Bethurem, Class of '66, succeeds Brigadier General Joseph Redden, Class of '64, as the Academy's Commandant of Cadets.
26 June 1993 -- Brigadier General Patrick Gamble becomes the Academy's 17th Commandant of Cadets. A graduate of Texas A&M University, he was the first non-USAFA grad Commandant in more than 12 years.
26 June 2007 -- The funeral for Dorothy Donnelly Moller is held in the Protestant Cadet Chapel. Mrs. Moller and her husband, Colonel Joseph A. Moller, who passed away in 1993, were selected to receive the Academy's 2003 Distinguished Service Award. Among their many contributions, the Mollers established the first major planned gift in Academy history.
26 June 2008 -- KAFA, the Academy radio station, broadcasts live from in-processing for the first time. Station manager Dave West provided listeners with updates and interviewed Academy staff members and parents.
27 June 2006 -- General Kevin Chilton, Class of '76, a veteran of three Space Shuttle flights , assumes command of Air Force Space Command in a ceremony at Peterson AFB, Colorado. He pinned on the rank of general in a promotion ceremony the morning of his assumption of command, thus becoming the first astronaut to earn a fourth star.
28 June 1976 -- The first 157 female cadets begin training, as members of the Class of '80. Joan Olsen was the first female cadet to be sworn in - she did not graduate. By mere days, the Air Force Academy was the first of the Department of Defense service academies to admit women.
28 June 1977 -- Lieutenant General Kenneth Tallman becomes the Academy's eighth Superintendent, taking the reins from Lieutenant General James Allen.
28 June 1988 -- Air Force Academy professor Dr. Robert Golobic and Hewlett-Packard engineer Johann Sverdrup founded Spectranetics. Golobic and Sverdrup developed medical lasers for heart surgery.
28 June 2012 -- Due to the Waldo Canyon Fire, the first phase of the Class of 16's in-processing is moved from Doolittle Hall to the Field House. This marked the first time since 1993 that in-processing did not begin at Doolittle Hall.
29 June 1954 -- Colonel Robert V. Whitlow is appointed as the Academy's first Director of Athletics. He also coached the football team to a 4-4record during its inaugural season in 1955. Colonel Whitlow served at Athletic Director until June 1957.
29 June 1979 -- During its twenty-year reunion, the Class of '59 dedicates a plaque to the Air Training Officers in Arnold Hall. The ATOs served the role of upper classmen for the early classes during the Lowry AFB days.
29 June 1992 -- The first international cadets from a former communist bloc country are admitted to the Academy, as members of the Class of '96. The two cadets were citizens of Poland, and both graduated.
29 June 2012 -- Colonel Kabrena Rodda, Class of '92, becomes the first female Preparatory School Commander.
30 June 1954 -- Master Sergeant Lawrence Malchow of March Air Base, California, makes the first gift to the yet-to-be-established foundation to support the Academy. The check for $5 was sent to Colorado Spring Mayor Harry Blunt with a request that it be placed "in a trustee fund for purchase of the U.S. Air Force Academy site." The check could not be deposited until the foundation was incorporated the following month.
30 June 1965 -- Colonel Virgil O'Connor retires from the Cadet Registrar and becomes the first Academy officer to be awarded an honorary bachelor of science degree by the Academy.
30 June 1972 -- The U.S. Court of Appeals rules that mandatory chapel attendance at the three service academies is unconstitutional. In December 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court declines to review the case, and compulsory chapel ends in January 1973.
30 June 2007 -- The funeral for Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF, Retired, is held in the Protestant Cadet Chapel. General Olds, a triple ace with seventeen kills in World War II and Vietnam, served as Academy Commandant of Cadets 1967-1971.
The following story was done by SB Nation and discusses the difficulty in coaching at a service academy. SB Nation feels that the three service academy jobs are the most difficult in the FBS.
Air Force, Army, Navy head coaches explain football's 3 hardest jobs
By Kevin Trahan, May 21 2014, 9:00a 19
America's service academies face tough recruiting restrictions and still find success on the football field. SB Nation talked to head coaches Ken Niumatalolo, Troy Calhoun, and Jeff Monken about adapting and contending anyway.
In April, when the NCAA changed its policy to allow for unlimited meals, college coaches championed it as a success for student-athletes and as a potential benefit in recruiting. But for Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun, it was just another reminder of what he's up against.
"That doesn't pertain to us," he said of the new rules.
Calhoun isn't bitter about the rule change. He knows it benefits athletes at most schools and that it's necessary in a world more focused on player welfare. And he knew in 2007, when he took the Air Force Academy job, that he was signing up for one of the three toughest jobs in college football.
At no other major football schools are recruits agreeing to active military service when they sign to play football. At the academies, physical training mandatory for a degree gets in the way of physical training for football. And that's for the players who meet the height and weight requirements for entry.
With these restrictions, among many others, it's a shock that America's service academies can win any games in the top subdivision of Division I. Because to win games, you have to recruit good players. And finding good players with those restrictions is improbable, at best.
How do service academies recruit?
I posed that broad question to Calhoun, and his answer started out simply enough: "I don't think our process is different than anywhere else," he said.
On the surface, that's true. Calhoun and the coaches at Army and Navy go out in search of the best football players in the country to come to their schools, just like the coaches at every other Division I program. But it comes with a caveat: "just, the filters that are involved are a lot stronger."
Just a few of those filters:
Academics. At Air Force, prospective players need to have at least a 3.5 high school GPA, a 25 on the ACT in all subjects, and a minimum of a 1200 two-part SAT score. Requirements are similarly rigorous at the other service academies. Lt. Col. Gaylord Greene, who works in admissions at Army, said coaches will often encourage recruits to take more core courses, since the school requires more of them for entry than most others do.
Height and weight requirements. They differ slightly by academy, but at Air Force, a 6'4 applicant cannot weigh more than 221 pounds for admission -- and must also not weigh more than that upon graduation. This makes recruiting offensive linemen very difficult. "I'd love to have a bunch of 320-pound guys with good feet," Calhoun said. "We've never had a 285-pound kid, which is very small for a Division I offensive lineman. We usually average 255 pounds with our offensive line."
Mandatory military service. Unlike players who sign a normal scholarship tender, athletes at the service academies sign on to serve in active military duty after college. As expected, that "is a turnoff for a lot of kids," according to new Army head coach Jeff Monken.
Apply the academic filter, and suddenly the pool of prospects shrinks. The academies are forced to recruit similar kids as Stanford, Duke, Northwestern, and the Ivy League schools, yet none of those schools have to also worry about the additional filters of weight limits and mandatory military service.
Opposing linemen regularly outweigh the academies' by 50 pounds or more. Scott Cunningham, Getty
The result is a national recruiting plan.
"I bet out of our two-deep, we might only have two that are even from this time zone," Calhoun said. "Which, that is really absurd."
That sounds really nice: "we recruit nationally." After all, that's what powerhouses like Notre Dame pride themselves on. However, Notre Dame recruits nationally because its name has enough cachet to pull players from anywhere; the Irish don't have to just stick with the players in the Midwest. The academies recruit nationally out of necessity, because they could barely fill out a team if they recruited their geographic regions.
Even with a national recruiting plan, the academies rarely beat out major-conference teams for players. And as Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo pointed out, even many lower-level FBS players think they can go to the NFL. Whether that's true or not, it cuts the service academies out of the picture for those players as well. So they tend to recruit against each other, FCS schools, and maybe a MAC school every once in awhile.
Monken arrived at Army from FCS Georgia Southern this year, and even though he jumped up a division, it might be tougher to get players now.
"I think the service academies are the most difficult places to recruit to in the nation," he said.
THE ACADEMIES ARE THE MOST DIFFICULT PLACES TO RECRUIT TO IN THE NATION.
ARMY HEAD COACH JEFF MONKEN The recruiting rankings back that up. According to 247 Sports, Air Force was the top-ranked service academy in 2014, finishing 109th nationally. Army and Navy were 121st and 129th, respectively, finishing among a group of FCS and low-level FBS schools. Only 10 of their collective 58 commits received three-star ratings. Star ratings matter for football success, so the coaches at service academies need to be creative in their recruiting approaches.
Since there is so much information in recruiting these days, the academies can't really rely on fellow coaches to miss ready-made prospects. Instead, they take chances on players they hope to develop.
Niumatalolo said his staff will look to identify undersized offensive linemen, corners with 4.6-second 40-yard dash times, and small defensive linemen who could turn into linebackers. It's an exhausting process, but if coaches look hard enough, they can find enough players who fit the very specific profiles. Once they find those players and get them to campus for official visits, Niumatalolo claims 90 percent of them end up committing.
"Since we recruit all 50 states," he said, "I believe there are enough student-athletes out there that have good grades that are willing to serve their country after."
Adapting to the recruiting filters
The physical requirements at the service academies dictate their on-field style. All three are known for running option offenses. Navy, in particular, has become famous for perfecting the flexbone triple option. Former Navy coach Paul Johnson brought it to Georgia Tech with some success, with Monken a former assistant.
Because the academies can't have big offensive lines, they rely on athletic linemen and option misdirection to create running lanes and open up the field. The Midshipmen won a game in 2011 without completing a pass, as did Monken's GSU against Florida in 2013. In the past six years, all three academies have ranked in the FBS top four in rushing attempts per game, along with Georgia Tech.
"It's a fitting tribute to have the Air Force's newest pre-positioning vessel named after an Air Force logistician and true American patriot who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of his country," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. "Captain Lyon answered the call by saying 'send me,' and exemplified the core value of service before self. I'm extremely proud that this great airman's story will become part of the legacy of this proud ship and its crew."
Lyon, a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate and member of the 21st Logistics Readiness Squadron out of Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, died Dec. 27, 2013 in Kabul, Afghanistan, when a vehicle-born improvised explosive device was detonated near his convoy. Serving a year-long deployment to Afghanistan, Lyon was performing a combat advisory mission with Afghan National army commandos and working with the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan.
Lyon was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Purple Heart and the Air Force Combat Action Medal.
The dedication of the Motor Vessel David I. Lyon continues the long-standing tradition of the Navy's Military Sealift Command by having a ship dedicated to national heroes. Lyon is the fifth Airman to receive this honor.
The MV David I. Lyon will provide responsive and agile combat support by prepositioning munitions afloat within theaters of operation in support of multiple combatant commander war-fighting and operational plan requirements. The MV David I. Lyon will provide enduring capacity for sea-based munitions movement equivalent to 78 fully loaded C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft.
While Lyon was working in Afghanistan, his wife, Capt. Dana Lyon was serving at Bagram Airfield.
When told about the decision to honor her husband with the ship renaming, she said she "was in awe and deeply honored."
"It is quite an honor that the logistics community and the Air Force recognized the man I knew him to be ... humble and selfless," she said. "Dave's favorite thing about being in the Air Force was feeling like he was in the fight and making a difference in the world. He would be very much honored and happy about having this vessel named after him because it allows him to still deliver to the warfighter ... his legacy will live on and the mission will continue despite him being gone."
(Content provided by Air Force Public Affairs)
The baseball hurtles toward the batter, and he must decide from its rotation whether it's a fastball worth a swing or a slider about to drop out of the strike zone.
Running full speed, the wide receiver tracks both the football flying through the air and the defensive back on his heels. Golfers must rapidly shift visual focus in order to drive the ball at their feet toward a green in the distance.
Many athletes need excellent vision to perform well in their sports, and now many are adding something new to their practice regimens: vision training. The idea has been around for years, but only recently have studies hinted that it might really work -- that it might be possible to train yourself to see better without resorting to glasses or surgery.
"Vision training has been out there for a long time," said Mark Blumenkranz, a professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University Medical School. "But it's being made more respectable lately thanks to the attention it's been getting from psychophysicists, vision scientists, neurologists and optometrists."
Vision training actually has little to do with improving eyesight. The techniques, a form of perceptual learning, are intended to improve the ability to process what is seen. The idea is that if visual sensory neurons are repeatedly activated, they increase their ability to send electrical signals from one cell to another across connecting synapses.
If neurons are not used, over time these transmissions are weakened. "With sensory neurons, just like muscles, it's use or lose it," said Dr. Bernhard Sabel, a neuroscientist at Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg, Germany, who studies plasticity in the brain. "This applies both to athletes and the partially blind."
Vision training may involve simple strategies -- for instance, focusing sequentially on beads knotted at intervals on a length of string with one end held at the tip of the nose. This is said to improve convergence (inward turning of the eye to maintain binocular vision) and the ability to focus near and far.
Companies like Dynavision and Vision Coach make light boards said to strengthen peripheral vision by engaging users in a sort of game of whack-a-mole; they smack at bulbs as they flash on and off, while keeping their gaze fixed straight ahead. Increasingly, though, vision training means playing something akin to a point-and-shoot video game in which the targets get progressively harder to discern.
A study by a team of psychologists and published in February in Current Biology showed that baseball players at the University of California, Riverside, were able to improve by 30 percent their reading of eye charts -- as well as their batting averages -- after completing more than two dozen 25-minute vision training sessions using a computer program. Players who didn't receive the training did not show similar improvement.
A study of the University of Cincinnati baseball team found marked improvement in the batting averages of players following six weeks of various kinds of vision training. The team batting average went up 34 points from the previous season, exceeding improvements of other N.C.A.A. teams. Errors decreased by 15 percent, while fielding assists increased 8 percent. (One author of the study was Johnny Bench, the Hall of Fame catcher.)
In earlier studies, vision training has been found to boost the performance of table tennis players, golfers and field hockey players. But generally the sample sizes were small and variables difficult to control. (Athletes have been known to perform better just by not changing their underwear.)
Still, they build on decades of work with stroke, brain injury and glaucoma patients whose vision has been significantly improved with training. Dr. Sabel's most recent research appeared in the February issue of JAMA Ophthalmology and showed that computer-based vision training improved glaucoma patients' peripheral vision by 19 percent.
"Vision, like other sensory systems, can be improved with practice," Dr. Sabel said. "The improvements occur not in the optics of the eye, but in the central processing centers of the brain."
Dr. Blumenkranz of Stanford and other vision experts suspect that to be successful, vision training must be tailored to the individual, like physical training.
"A little discomfort is expected," as when you exert yourself lifting weights, said Al Wile, the director of sports vision at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, and a longtime proponent of vision training.
In addition to improving the performance of athletes, he said he had been able to help cadets pass pilot vision proficiency tests after they had failed.
Professional teams, including the Indiana Pacers, the Brooklyn Nets, the St. Louis Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers, also are experimenting with vision training. Shawn Windle, the head strength coach for the N.B.A.'s Pacers, said he uses the Dynavision device to improve his players' visual abilities, as well as to assess the vision of prospective draft picks.
"It's a great way for me to identify who can get their hands on the ball," he said.
Players who are already on the team tell him it has made their vision sharper. "I don't have a way of measuring that," Mr. Windle said. "But if they think it's helping, that's good enough for me."