HomeNewsArticle Display

Surviving the loss of an Air Force family member

Senior Airman Michael S. Snyder, 460th Space Communications Squadron cyber transport journeyman, had been at Buckley for two years before he was killed by an alleged drunk driver while on his motorcycle the night of April 9, 2014. Snyder was honored and remembered for his positive attitude and sense of humor.

Senior Airman Michael S. Snyder, 460th Space Communications Squadron cyber transport journeyman, had been at Buckley for two years before he was killed by an alleged drunk driver while on his motorcycle the night of April 9, 2014. Snyder was honored and remembered for his positive attitude and sense of humor.

Senior Airman Michael S. Snyder, 460th Space Communications Squadron cyber transport journeyman, had been at Buckley for two years before he was killed by an alleged drunk driver while on his motorcycle the night of April 9, 2014. Snyder was honored and remembered for his positive attitude and sense of humor.

Senior Airman Michael S. Snyder, 460th Space Communications Squadron cyber transport journeyman, had been at Buckley for two years before he was killed by an alleged drunk driver while on his motorcycle the night of April 9, 2014. Snyder was honored and remembered for his positive attitude and sense of humor.

Senior Airman Michael S. Snyder, 460th Space Communications Squadron cyber transport journeyman, had been at Buckley for two years before he was killed by an alleged drunk driver while on his motorcycle the night of April 9, 2014. Snyder was honored and remembered for his positive attitude and sense of humor.

Senior Airman Michael S. Snyder, 460th Space Communications Squadron cyber transport journeyman, had been at Buckley for two years before he was killed by an alleged drunk driver while on his motorcycle the night of April 9, 2014. Snyder was honored and remembered for his positive attitude and sense of humor.

Senior Airman Michael S. Snyder, 460th Space Communications Squadron cyber transport journeyman, had been at Buckley for two years before he was killed by an alleged drunk driver while on his motorcycle the night of April 9, 2014. Snyder was honored and remembered for his positive attitude and sense of humor.

Senior Airman Michael S. Snyder, 460th Space Communications Squadron cyber transport journeyman, had been at Buckley for two years before he was killed by an alleged drunk driver while on his motorcycle the night of April 9, 2014. Snyder was honored and remembered for his positive attitude and sense of humor.

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Recently, Team Buckley lost a member of our Air Force family, Senior Airman Michael S. Snyder of the 460th Space Communications Squadron. It is never easy to lose someone, especially a wingman, but our efforts to honor the fallen and take care of the family they leave behind, brings us together as an Air Force family and in doing so, helps us manage the grief we feel with loss.

This sense of Air Force family makes us unique as a profession and makes serving in the military much more than just a "job." As part of honoring his memory, I'd like to share a little about Snyder, my thoughts on the importance of our Air Force values, and how that sets us apart from other professions.

Michael S. Snyder, was born February 6, 1991 in Bloomington, Ill. to Stacy and Sandra Snyder. He was an easygoing, fun-loving child who always had a smile on his face to compliment his distinctive laugh. Michael joined our Air Force family on May 24, 2011 at the Chicago Military Entrance Processing Station, with dreams of working in the avionics and electronics field. The Air Force granted his wish and sent him to Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. where he earned his 3D1X2 Cyber Transport Technician specialty and finished as a distinguished graduate.

Snyder arrived at Buckley AFB, his first duty station, on April 22, 2012. He hit the ground running and made countless contributions to his Air Force family both on and off duty. Michael was the consummate professional and expert at his job who was always the first to volunteer and help after hours. On April 9, 2014 his life was tragically cut short when he was struck by an SUV while riding his motorcycle on a beautiful Colorado evening.

What sets the military apart from other professions is that this tragic event resulted in much more than the loss of a coworker--we lost a member of our Air Force family. It is for this reason that when these tragedies occur; we roll up our sleeves, organize resources and quickly engage with precision and efficiency to take care of our own.
In the case of Snyder, the "we" involved the entire Team Buckley family - from the unit, to experts in the 460th Force Support Squadron, to senior leadership from across the base. Everyone was "all in" and took on duties and tasks ensuring we quickly took care of our fallen wingman and his family.

We quickly assigned Airmen to represent the Air Force in key positions which included an escort officer, a family assistance representative and a summary court officer. This team of professionals managed all personal affairs of the fallen to include ensuring the dignified transfer of remains, handling all financial support and ensuring every possible family need was met.

In Michael's case, the Team Buckley family flawlessly executed the processes described above. Through expert guidance from Araceli Searles, 460th Space Wing mortuary affairs officer, Buckley Airmen were able to take care of Michael and his family. Heroes that stepped up to take on these critical roles included John DeWitt, Milan Christi, Dale Ruybal, Chaplain Gary Coburn, military family life counselors, Barbara Atwell, Lt. Col. Hew Wells, Master Sgt. Brandy Sharp, Senior Master Sgt. Brian Lavigne, 1st Lt. Brian Thorn, 2nd Lt. Josh Huckabee, Senior Master Sgt. Phil Weingart and the entire 460th SCS.

The support and teamwork of our Air Force family was eye watering and heart felt. Snyder's memorial on April 14 and final salute on April 15 were fitting tributes to honor our fallen family member. I share this so we may never forget the importance of our Air Force family and the values we hold dear. In times of great struggle or loss, we turn to each other and fully support the time-honored tradition to take care of our own.

I have never been more proud to serve and call myself an Air Force family member after seeing how Team Buckley responded and handled the loss of Snyder with the utmost professionalism and care. It is a privilege to wake each day, put on my uniform, and like all Air Force family members, pull my share of the load and serve with honor. My hope is that each of you feels the same.


USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.