Kickapoo graduate continues a brave family tradition

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Serving your country. It’s a tradition to the Snider family, and their youngest son is only making it stronger. Jack just turned 18, and he accepted an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy. He’s the third person in his family to get accepted into a military academy.

Jack’s father, John, says he’s very proud of his son.

“For me, Memorial Day is honoring those who have fallen before us in combat,” John said. “And yes, it has special meaning now that he will be joining the same service to our nation in the military. He’s Mr. Grit. He was persistent, and just stayed with it.”

Jack’s brother, J.R. was shocked to hear about his sibling’s next move.

“I kind of didn’t expect this out of him,” J.R. said. “To see him do this on his own and follow my footsteps, especially going to the Air Force Academy instead of West Point, it made me really proud.”

Jack knows the magnitude of the journey he’s about to start.

“It’s a very high honor to be able to serve in the U.S. Military,” Jack said.

Part of what made Jack want to apply is his family’s long history of bravery. His great, great grandfather served in the Royal Thai Navy. Jack’s grandfather and John served in the U.S. Army. After 26 years, John retired at the rank of lieutenant colonel.

“The great honor is being able to serve other men and women and lead them to missions and to victory,” John said.

J.R. is also a rising junior in the Air Force Academy.

“The biggest thing I’m looking forward to now would be working basic training this summer,” J.R. said. “Especially because my brother will be there. So, maybe I will be able to see him a little bit.”

Jack says his family didn’t pressure him to continue this tradition. When he thought about applying, he trained to pass a required candidate fitness assessment, which includes exercises like pull-ups, sit-ups and push-ups. 

“I was very weak,” Jack said. “I could barely do a pull-up. But over several months over the summer and the fall and running cross country really helped me get better.”

Jack passed the test. And, after four tries, he got a 32 on the ACT.

“It took a lot of tests I had to do,” Jack said. “Probably one test a day to get to that point.”

After months of hard work, Jack will study civil engineering at the Air Force Academy as a cadet. There’s a chance J.R. might train him too.

“You’d be surprised the mentality you get into whenever you go into basic training mode,” J.R. said. “Because you’re training them, you’re screaming at them, sometimes I might even say something to him and not notice.”

KOLR10’s David Chasanov asked J.R., “Would you apologize if you yelled at him?” J.R. responded, “Eh. I don’t know. I had to go through this, so why not my brother?”

If the Snider brothers stay in the same career field after they graduate, they could possibly work together.

“It’s very likely that if I’m a pilot and he’s a pilot, I’d be a pilot and he would be my co-pilot,” J.R. said. “So, it’s cool that I’ll have a life-long friend with me no matter where I go in the Air Force.”

In order to be considered for the Academy, you need a nomination from someone in Congress. Jack received one from Senator Roy Blunt for West Point Academy, another from Senator Josh Hawley for the Air Force, and one for all academies from Congressman Billy Long. Jack was selected out of 10 people.

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