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ANG family deployed simultaneously: Sniders support 779th EAS

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Alexandre Montes
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The term ‘beans and bullets’ was started in the civil war, a time where fathers and sons served together side-by-side. Beans, as in coffee beans, and bullets where items supplied to support the frontlines, similar to the mission here at Ali Al Salem Air Base. For one Illinois family, the tradition still stays true, keeping the Air National Guard flying mission part of their legacy and supplying the frontlines with expeditionary airlift support. 

Chief Master Sgt. Cyrus Snider Sr. and Airman 1st Class Cyrus Snider Jr. are both enlisted Airmen assigned to the 779th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron from the 182nd Airlift Wing, Illinois Air National Guard, in Peoria, Ill.

Both come from a long line of military members, to include Snider Sr.’s spouses’ family. Snider Sr. is the 779th EAS chief flight engineer, who is close to retirement and junior is a loadmaster, just two years shy of his enlistment anniversary. Apart from being Airmen from the ANG, deployment experiences is something they now share together.

“I’ve been a ‘Guard’ baby my whole life, signed up and joined in 1984 right out of high school,” Snider Sr. said. “I started off with F-16 fighters as a weapons guy, then 10 years later, we converted to C-130’s and have been doing this since.”

He was one of the first Airmen to become ‘enlisted flyers’ in supporting their Aircraft where ever it went. As an enlisted C-130 flight engineer, Cyrus Sr. deployed and continuously traveled for the Air Force, but if you do something you love, it shows and can transfer to another person.

Junior followed in his father and grandfather’s footsteps by joining the Air Force. More importantly, he loved and admired the Airmen and their professionalism.

“Ever since I’ve been knee-high and up, seeing these guys in green jumpsuits and leather jackets come around all I can think of is these guys have to be doing something important,” Snider Jr. mentioned.

So he joined, like his father, right out of high school into the ANG with his preferred choice of careers. As a loadmaster, Snider Jr. is in a completely different seat when it comes to the Aircraft and their duties.

“My job is the enlisted guy in the cockpit (flight engineer), he’s the enlisted guy in back taking care of the cargo (loadmaster).” Sr. explained.
During their time here at Ali Al Salem Air Base, the young Airman has gained some insight into his father’s longevity within the squadron and his profession.

“It’s been amazingly helpful being in the same squadron with him, and his 36 years of experience,” said Snider Jr.

Deployed over a dozen times, and with about 1,000 hours of combat flying time, the chief has passed along nuggets of knowledge to his son. One that he has observed in his son is juniors strive to not be complacent in his career.

The father mentioned that he seeks ways to improve and learn more about his Aircraft and job daily. A factor that will surely keep the young Airman at the top of his game in making sure he stays safe and the aircraft flying.

As they cannot fly together due to the Sullivan Act, they still work together on the ground, continually learning together. During the deployment, they spend time together as much as they can. Though, due to the constant mission, their time together is far and few between.

As they move along in their career paths, the chief is far beyond proud of the Airman his son has become.

“To be here with him right now, what can make a dad prouder,” the chief said. “This is the capstone of my career. When my boots hit the ground on Peoria soil, I’m putting in my paperwork and letting him make his own path.”

Snider Jr. is more than grateful for the opportunities he’s had, not just with his father. Still, the chances the Air Force has given him keeping him driven to continue the Snider legacy.

“I don’t see any reason to change, a year or two ago I was stocking groceries, and now I’m in Kuwait,” Snider Jr. said. “It’s definitely been a positive change in my life, and I don’t see a reason to change.”

As C-130 Hurcules professionals, these two Airmen have put in some hard work alongside their crew members at home and deployed to make sure Airmen and our allies keep receiving the ‘beans and bullets.’

The Sniders ended with a quote they contributed to a wise man that once said, ‘no one prays for peace more than a warrior.’