(Washington, D.C.) – Dr. Guion Guy Bluford, Jr., the former NASA astronaut who became the first African-American to enter outer space, and Dr. G. Reid Lyon, one of our nation’s top neuro-psychologists, will receive Excellence in the Sciences Awards on Saturday, August 17, at Vietnam Veterans of America’s 16th biennial National Convention at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Jacksonville, Florida.
“Vietnam Veterans of America is proud to honor two of America’s top men of science at the Saturday night Awards Banquet,” VVA National President John Rowan said. “Dr. Bluford and Dr. Lyon came home from fighting in Vietnam, continued their educations, and went on to have long and distinguished careers. We are honored they are joining us in Jacksonville so that we can recognize their excellent work.”
Dr. Bluford, a distinguished Air Force ROTC graduate from Penn State University, served as an F-4C Phantom pilot with the 557th Tactical Fighter Squadron, flying out of Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam. He flew 144 combat missions during his 1966-67 tour of duty, 65 of which were over North Vietnam. He became a NASA astronaut in August 1979 and made four flights into space, logging more than 688 hours. Dr. Bluford holds an MS degree with distinction and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in laser physics from the Air Force Institute of Technology, as well as an MBA from the University of Houston.
Dr. Lyon is a noted public school educator, professor, research scientist, psychologist, and policymaker who served in the U.S. Army from 1967-70, with a 15-month tour in Vietnam with the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. Following his service, Dr. Lyon received a PhD from the University of New Mexico in Special Education and psychology. He has taught at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Northwestern University, and the University of Vermont School of Medicine. From 1992-2005, he served as the head of the Child Development and Behavior Branch in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health.
Some eight hundred delegates from VVA chapters across the country are expected to join hundreds of other Vietnam veterans and guests in Jacksonville. Former Congressman David Bonior, who spoke at VVA’s Founding Convention in 1983, will deliver the Keynote Address at the Opening Ceremonies on Wednesday morning, August 14. Other Convention special guests include singer/songwriter Arlo Guthrie, who will receive the President’s Award for Excellence in the Arts at the Saturday night Awards Banquet.