Chief's service to AF continues through his daughter

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. C. Michaela Walrond
  • 66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Editor's Note: This is the fourth story in a series celebrating the Air Force's 60th Anniversary. 

Webster's dictionary defines 'heritage' as, "practices that are handed down from the past by tradition." This definition describes the relationship that one Hanscom member established with the Air Force as a result of the lifestyle and path that her father, retired reservist Chief Master Sgt. Arthur Snow, set before her. 

Barbara Meyers, ESC's Acquisition Center of Excellence acquisition process consultant, has worked at Hanscom since 1984, but her association with the base dates back to 1959. At just six months old, she moved here with her family when her father was transferred from Mitchell Air Force Base, Long Island, N.Y. to Hanscom. 

Hanscom remained Chief Snow's "home" through the rest of his Air Force career until his retirement in 1978. From that time until his death in 1993, the retired chief, and World War II veteran, visited the base frequently to assist other retirees and to catch up with acquaintances. 

During the early days of her father's stay at Hanscom, Ms. Meyers said, he was assigned to the 94th Military Airlift Wing. There, he served in the 901st Tactical Airlift Group's Air Reserve Technician program as both an Air Force reservist and a federal civil servant. 

Acting as the Office Services supervisor for the Air Force Reserves at Hanscom, he provided administrative services for more than 750 assigned reservists until 1973, she said. 

"As part of his job, he did all the mail, the filing, the orders, and reproduction and printing of the group publication, 'The Missile,'" she said. 

Because of the type of job Ms. Meyers' father had, he did not have to relocate once the family settled here in 1959. Therefore, the family was able to see Hanscom change throughout the years, she said. 

Having grown up at a time when Hanscom was an operational base, Ms. Meyers has memories of the cargo planes and air shows that were held here. Because of the base's flying mission, Chief Snow organized several school field trips to Hanscom, one of which both Ms. Meyers' and her sister's classes attended. 

"My father would take the classes out of school for the day and arrange for tours of the base. We would get on the planes, see the base and then later we would eat lunch in the cafeteria that was here. It was a pretty neat place for a young child back then," Ms. Meyers said. 

The field trips weren't the only Air Force experiences that her father made her a part of, though. Even as a young girl, along with her older sister and younger brother, she would tag along with Chief Snow when he would come on base to work over the weekends. 

"He put us to work when we were very little. My dad would get all of us kids together and he would put all the pages of 'The Missile' out and get us to collate the paper. We would gather and staple it together. It was a lot of papers, because it went to everyone in the 901st, but it was fun, because it was our entertainment on the weekends and it kept us out of our mother's hair," she said. 

The time they spent with their father at work became a routine part of their lifestyle, as did the family vacation -- every year when her father's time came around to do his two-week Reserve-duty encampments, the family would go with him, Ms. Meyers said. 

"While my dad would do the two-week encampments at bases like Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station in New York, the rest of us would visit Niagara Falls. My poor dad would work, but he would take us along with him -- that was our vacation," she said. 

"The lifestyle was so ingrained in me, that I just always did it and never really thought about it." 

Even after Hanscom no longer had a flying mission, Chief Snow continued his career at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., Ms. Meyers said. After retiring from 32 years of combined military and federal civil service, he remained active in the Hanscom Retiree Activities Program and continued to serve as the President of the Worcester Chapter of the Air Force Association. 

Because of the chief's extensive career, Hanscom had become a home to the Snow family. The life that Ms. Meyer's father provided through the Air Force was one that she later followed throughout her own career. 

After her father's death, Ms. Meyers was cleaning out his belongings and found a report she had written in the 1st grade that he had saved. It read, "When I grow up I want to be a secretary in the Air Forces." (Deliberate misspelling.) 

This childhood dream became a reality when her father gave her an application for a clerical job on base. After serving in that position for a few years, she went on to fill a trainee position in finance on base, then spent 11 years working with the Joint STARS program and six years on the financial management staff before beginning her most recent job -- a career broadening assignment -- as an acquisition process consultant. 

Looking back, Ms. Meyers remembers her father as a "man of few words." Despite his quiet nature, however, Chief Snow never failed to incorporate his family into his own career. Ms. Meyers said that whatever he did, he made sure that they were part of it. This aspect of her childhood is a quality that Ms. Meyers said influenced her most throughout her life and career. "My father was my role model," she said. 

The only verbal advice she remembers getting from her dad was to "make a lot of friends in a lot of places on the base." Ms. Meyers said her dad used to take her around and meet the people he worked with throughout his career. She said she realized that is how things got done on the job. 

That advice and the family values her father instilled in her are both things that she has passed on to her own family. Her step-son Jeffrey is continuing the family tradition in government service as a police officer at the Bedford, Mass. Veterans' Affairs hospital. 

Chief Snow now lives on in Hanscom's own heritage, through his daughter's service and her memories, which have made a huge impact on her life.