Peterson AFB to honor fallen former Falcon David Lyon with 5K

    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:

    Former Falcon great Chris Howard mentioned by NFF

    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.

    Great story in Gazette on volleyball player Emma Dridge

    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.

    Emma Dridge Participates in Historic MW Meeting

    For the first time in league history, the Mountain West Board of Directors meeting included two members of the MW Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). In keeping with the Conference's progressive approach, and with the new NCAA governance structure set to include student-athletes, the BOD felt this was a great opportunity to include the voice of the league's SAAC members. New Mexico track athlete Kendall Spencer, the national chair of the 2014-15 NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, was joined by Air Force Academy volleyball player Emma Dridge.

    Full release here:!/news-detail/mw_14_bod_saac_06-02-14_yfym83

    60th Anniversary of USAFA continues with June historical dates





    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 Foreign Languages is officially established an academic department.  In the first year, classes were taught in French, German, Russian and Spanish.

    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.


    Air Force football coaching job one of three toughest in FBS

    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.


    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.






    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

    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:

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

    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, as the website recognized the Falcons' 2014 recruiting class on May 27., 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.