Recent Grads Are Ready To Serve

Recent Grads Are Ready To Serve Twins Ryan And Reid Snider Are Both Headed To National Military Service Academies

Story by Mike May  |  Photos by Frank Koester

Wellington’s Ryan and Reid Snider have the distinct and fairly rare honor of being twins both headed off to highly selective national military service academies.

For the last 18 years, Diana and Dan Snider of Wellington and their twin sons have lived a life where the boys attended the same public schools and usually participated in the same activities. Now, life is changing. The two boys will remain united as brothers, but Ryan and Reid have decided to divide and conquer, as a way of furthering their education while patriotically serving and defending the nation.

After graduating from Palm Beach Central High School on Friday, May 17 — where Ryan was class valedictorian and Reid was ranked 13th among his 735 peers — both boys became focused on the next chapter of their lives, which have existed in lockstep with one another since birth.

Both Ryan and Reid are ambitious, athletic, creative, patriotic, smart, talented and are college-bound, but now they are headed in differing directions. Ryan is heading west to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, while Reid is going north to the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.

These ambitious young men from Wellington are not content to simply attend and graduate from their respective service academies. They want to excel and grow in their new environments.

“I will pursue a dual major in astronautical and aerospace engineering,” Ryan said. “My goal is to be a pilot and fly F22s, one of the most advanced stealth fighters in history. But I also want to use my experience and engineering knowledge to build the next generation of air and spacecraft.”

His brother also has an interest in engineering with big dreams.

“I plan to major in mechanical engineering with a specialization in astronautical engineering,” Reid said. “I am also interested in studying law and political science. In addition, I want to work with NASA, be an astronaut and go to Mars.”

The Snider boys will remain united as a family, but for the first time will be divided, geographically.

“We are always under the same sky with the same stars,” said Ryan, the older of the two boys by one minute, as both were born at the Wellington Regional Medical Center in December 2005.

The idea that both boys would pursue a military education and lifestyle is not a surprise, but it was not expected, either. “Two of the boys’ uncles served in the Air Force, their paternal grandfather was in the Army, and their paternal great-grandfather was in the Navy,” their mother Diana explained. “They, and we, are honored at the opportunity for each of our boys to be nominated and selected for these elite service academies.”

While Ryan and Reid are thrilled to be headed off to their service academies, they previously thought that their collegiate home would be in Gainesville, Florida.

“Our parents had done Florida Prepaid, and so our goal, before getting the service academy e-mails, was to get into the University of Florida,” Ryan said. “Throughout our application process to the service academies, we still applied to UF. But, crazy enough, UF was our backup school. In addition to our military appointments, both of us received our acceptance into UF.”

“I grew up as a huge Florida Gator fan, bleeding orange and blue,” added Reid, who was accepted into UF’s Honors College. “I always wanted to attend the University of Florida.”

Even though Ryan and Reid will be going their separate ways, they almost went to the same service academy. Soon after taking their PSAT as sophomores in high school, both boys received an informational e-mail from West Point.

“That stopped us in our tracks,” Diana recalled. “We talked about West Point and began looking up information on the other service academies. The boys became so interested that we took a family road trip to West Point in June 2022 following their sophomore year of high school. In August of that year, our family of four flew out to Colorado to visit the Air Force Academy.”

According to Diana, both boys researched and decided that they were interested in both West Point and the Air Force Academy. They applied for the summer leadership program at both academies and were accepted to both.

So, during the first week of June 2023, after their junior year at Palm Beach Central, they flew to West Point together for an intense week-long experience. They flew home at the end of the week, unpacked, washed clothes, repacked and flew to Colorado for another several days at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s program.

“We knew they would either love it or hate it,” Diana said.

Not surprisingly, they both loved the leadership programs, but Ryan preferred the Air Force Academy, while Reid really liked what was offered at West Point.

“Separately, they focused on their application packets, secured their nominations, and completed all necessary physical and academic requirements,” Diana added.

To get accepted into a military service academy, a current member of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate must also sign-off on your application.

For Ryan, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott approved his application, while U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel approved Reid’s paperwork.

Ryan will report to Colorado Springs on June 26, while Reid must report to West Point a few days later, on July 1.

Between now and then, Ryan and Reid will focus on improving their physical fitness. Both noted that their daily lives are now filled with running, lifting weights, and doing lots of calisthenics such as push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups.

After graduating from the service academies, they are committed to a minimum of five years of active-duty service, followed by at least three years in the reserves, but both boys predict long careers with their respective military disciplines.

While both boys are excited about their immediate futures, they agree that they’ll miss the creature comforts of home, especially their mother’s cooking.

“I’m really going to miss mom’s really good quesadillas,” Ryan said.

“And I’m going to miss eating mom’s cakes, fudge and cookies,” Reid added.

Their parents know that life for them will be different, too.

“It will be very quiet,” Diana said. “But there will be many trips to both Colorado and New York for parents’ weekend, and other opportunities to spend time with our boys.”

Meanwhile, Diana knows that it’s time to let her sons pursue their dreams.

“We know that we have raised them to work hard, focus on their goals, add value to others and positively impact our world,” she said. “We trust that they are on track to do just that. We are honored to get to watch them continue to grow into amazing men.”