Air-lifting to weight-lifting: C-130 pilot breaks national records

NIAGARA FALLS ARS, NY-- Capt. Thomas Tryon a C-130 pilot with the 328th Airlift Squadron trains for his next weightlifting competition by practicing his cleans and jerks in the base gym  during his down time after a Unit Training Assembly (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Andrew Caya)

NIAGARA FALLS ARS, NY-- Capt. Thomas Tryon a C-130 pilot with the 328th Airlift Squadron trains for his next weightlifting competition by practicing his cleans and jerks in the base gym during his down time after a Unit Training Assembly (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Andrew Caya)

NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. -- All Airmen should strive for excellence in their physical training. Having a strong body can help Warrior Airmen during their PT evaluations, deployments downrange and being an overall asset to America's fighting force. One Citizen Airman has taken his physical strength to new heights. 

Capt. Thomas S. Tryon, a C-130 pilot from the 328th Airlift Squadron of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, Niagara Falls, NY and a New York state trooper has broken two national weightlifting records. 

Capt. Tryon went to a Master's Nationals Competition in Savannah, Ga. on April 6 to compete. "Masters Nationals is the highest level of competition in the U.S. for master lifters," said Capt. Tryon. They are also a qualifying meet for International Masters which I qualified for. "It's easy to do your best at the gym; you're on your own time, you feel good and there isn't a whole lot of pressure on you. It's much harder to do your best at the meet. You don't have the option of lifting when you want, you have to lift when they tell you, it doesn't matter if you feel good or not," said Capt. Tryon. 

Capt. Tryon did not let those petty obstacles bother him; he pushed forward and won two out of three events. 

"It felt pretty good breaking those records, I was on cloud nine for a while," said Capt. Tryon with a laugh. 

Interestingly, there are only two official Olympic lifts: the "snatch" and the "clean and jerk." 

According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, the clean and jerk is a two-part lift. After lifting the barbell to the shoulders, the lifter jerks it overhead to arm's length, with no restrictions on the time necessary to complete the lift or on leg movements. In both lifts, the lifter must complete the lift with feet in line, body erect, arms and legs extended, and the barbell in control overhead. The lifter must either hold the weight overhead for two seconds or wait for the referee's signal before lowering the barbell back to the floor. 

"I have the records for 'the clean', 'the jerk' and 'the total,'" said Capt Tryon. "You open your routine with a "snatch" and then you follow with the "clean" and "jerk." You have three attempts at the Olympic lifts, taking your best two and that's your total," said Capt. Tryon. 

Standing at 5 feet, 10 inches and weighing in at 186 pounds Capt. Tryon "cleaned" and "jerked" 340 pounds and snatched at 280 pounds. 

"I broke the clean and jerk records and next time I compete I will be trying to break the snatch record," added Capt.Tryon. 

"He's a very modest man who enjoys his career with the military and the New York State Police," said Maj. Donald Langiewicz, who works with Capt. Tryon in the 328th Airlift Squadron. 

"Capt. Tryon shines at everything he does. He's very dedicated, every time he competes he comes out better than before," added Maj. Langiewicz. 

"I thought it was a great thing. I know a lot of our reservists have hobbies and interests outside of the military that we typically don't hear of and a lot of them are very modest about their achievements. When I heard about it, through conversations with the other aircrew members, I was very impressed that he was participating at that level of competition, and even more impressed that he actually won," said Col. Terry Lawrence, 914th Airlift Wing Operations Group Commander. 

Capt. Tryon has been on many deployments in his military career. However, being away from his normal lifting routine doesn't stop him from exercising. He stressed the importance of keeping in shape when you are on a deployment or TDY. 

"It's difficult to keep in shape when you are in your area of responsibility," Capt. Tryon said. "I have to tailor my training to where I am and I have to be creative if the place I am at doesn't meet my lifting needs," he added. 

"Overall, across the board, the Air Force has an increased level of physical fitness, so the program itself is adding to the Air Force's capability to accomplish its mission." said Col. Lawrence. 

"He is a perfect role model and I think all Airmen should follow his lead in physical fitness," added Col. Lawrence.