May 2014 Archives

    AF honors fallen hero Capt David Lyon with ship renaming

     WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force decided May 23, to honor a fallen hero by naming the service's newest pre-positioning vessel after Capt. David I. Lyon.

    "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)

    Air Force Academy human performance lab mentioned in NYT story

    Vision Training to Boost Sports Performance
    By KATE MURPHY

    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."

     

    Fencer Madeleine Girardot saves local girl's life

     The link to two feature stories done by KKTV's Sam Farnsworth follow below about sophomore fencer Madeline Girardot and her saving the life of a local fencer. 

    Here is the link to the quick segment done during the 5:30 news:

    http://www.kktv.com/video?videoid=2853056

    And here is the link to the complete story done during the 10:00 pm show:

    http://www.kktv.com/video?videoid=2853057

    Volleyball's 2014 Recruiting Class Earns High Honorable Mention

    For the second time in three years, an Air Force recruiting class was awarded High Honorable Mention status by PrepVolleyball.com, as the website recognized the Falcons' 2014 recruiting class on May 27. PrepVolleyball.com, the only website that does a yearly ranking of the 329 NCAA Division I volleyball recruiting classes, ranks the Top 30, awards 17 additional schools with Highest Honorable Mention and another 30 with High Honorable Mention. Air Force's Class of 2018 arrives at the Academy for in-processing on June 26.

    Former Falcon Ben Garland changes lives

    The link below is to a column from Colorado Springs columnist Paul Klee and some life-changing things former Air Force football player Ben Garland is doing. Garland is a 2010 Academy graduate and is playing professionally with the Denver Broncos. Garland will be promoted to the rank of captain in the Air Force this month.

    http://gazette.com/klee-for-ben-garland-its-philanthropy-air-force-and-broncos/article/1520258

    Football players help in Waldo Canyon cleanup efforts

    The following link is a story the Colorado Springs Gazette did on football players helping with clean up and fire mitigation in Waldo Canyon. More than 50 were on hand to help in the efforts!

    http://gazette.com/air-force-football-players-perform-restoration-work-in-the-waldo-canyon-burn-scar/article/1520337