Assistant Men's Gymnastics Coach, Capt Levi Torkelson, Killed in Auto Accident
Dec. 30, 2008
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - The Air Force family suffered a loss this past weekend when Capt Levi Torkelson was killed in a tragic automobile accident in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday, Dec. 27. An assistant coach for the men's gymnastics team, Torkelson was 29 years old.
Torkelson was in his second season as an assistant coach for the men's program. He returned to the Academy midway through the 2008 season, after completing a six-month deployment to Iraq. In addition to his coaching duties, Torkelson worked in the athletic department's scheduling and grading division.
A four-year letterwinner on the Falcons' gymnastics team, Torkelson graduated from the Academy in 2001. A decorated gymnast, he was a two-time champion on the parallel bars at the USA Gymnastics Collegiate Championships. A nine-time USAG All-American, Torkelson is the Academy record-holder on the parallel bars, with a score of 9.550.
Torkelson remained at the Academy after graduation, serving as an assistant coach for the men's team during the 2001-02 season.
Following his time at the Academy, Torkelson spent four years stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. While there, he served as the Deputy Flight Commander for both the Communications Control Center and Mission Systems Flight. He also served as the Officer in Charge for all geographically separated units controlled by the 435 Communication Group.
During his time at Ramstein, Torkelson was deployed twice. He spent four months as an Executive Officer in Jacobabad, Pakistan, and a year as the Officer in Charge for Screening and Property Exploitation Cells under the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center in Forward Operating Base Abu Ghraib and Victory Base Comply in Iraq.
Torkelson was awarded the Bronze Star and the USAFE Arthur S. Flemming Award. He has also won two Company Grade Officer of the Year Awards from the 435 Communications Squadron and the 86 Communications Squadron.
"He has done a fantastic job not only coaching the gymnastics team but as a physical education teacher," said Col Billy Walker, the Academy's deputy athletic director, who oversees the Olympic sports and physical education department. "He taught a lot of aquatic training. He was very well respected by the cadets, a great role model and mentor not only to the cadets he taught in his PE classes, but especially the cadet-athletes he coached on the gymnastics team.''