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Siblings in Service

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Max Goldberg
  • 908th Airlift Wing

For those who serve, the military can become a second family. The shared experiences of service members working toward a common goal creates a unique bond that is not easily broken. Feeling connected and comfortable with those you serve alongside day in and day out is vital to effectively carrying out the Air Force mission.

This connection is especially felt by the Senegars; three Air Force reservists who are very much family in and out of uniform.

Master Sgt. Victor Senegar Jr., Tech. Sgt. Vincent Senegar and Staff Sgt. Vanessa Senegar are siblings and Airmen assigned to the 908th Airlift Wing at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.  Additionally, Serena Senegar, the oldest of the siblings, served as a Captain in the Alabama Air National Guard and the Senegar siblings’ parents both served in the Army.

Victor, a production supervisor with the 908th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, has been a reservist for almost 20 years. Victor joined the Air Force while he was still in high school, and while Vincent and Vanessa were still young children.

“It’s crazy having watched my brother and sister grow up while I was in the military already,” said Victor. “Now they’re in too, it really gives me a sense of pride knowing they’re serving the country along with me.”

Vincent joined nearly 10 years after his older brother and now serves with him in the 908 AMXS as a mission systems technician. He described seeing his older brother serve and how it inspired him to start his own Air Force journey.

“My brother really motivated me to join the military when I lived with him,” said Vincent. “He was a crew chief so he was always going somewhere different and I said, ‘I want to do that!’”

In 2017, with two Senegar siblings serving as 908 Airmen, Vanessa, the youngest, decided to continue the family tradition.  Naturally, her parents and older brothers inspired her to join, but she said seeing her older sister as a woman in uniform played a major role in her decision to join.

“She was definitely a big influence,” said Vanessa. “I always wanted this decision to be my own, but as my big sister she, did play a big role in things.”

In June of 2021, members of the 908 AW began what was to become the largest deployment in the wing’s history. Among those heading overseas were Victor and Vincent; brothers embarking on their first and last deployment together.

“I never thought I’d deploy with my little brother, let alone work in the same unit as him,” said Victor. “There were so many great memories to share with our kids and the rest of the family.”

Back in the states, Vanessa took solace in the fact that her brothers were together. She said she did her part to help the family at home and didn’t worry as much about her brothers because they had each other.

“I definitely felt better knowing they were together,” said Vanessa. “It’s hard being deployed and it’s even harder when you don’t have someone you’re really close with and can trust.”

All of the Senegar siblings expressed the sentiment that having family they can depend on, in and out of uniform, has made life as Reserve Citizen Airmen so much more rewarding. 

Vincent’s wife gave birth to twins while he was deployed overseas.  He said it was hard not being there for their birth but he was glad to have family he could count on in his absence.

“I’m glad I was able to help out with the twins while Vincent was gone,” said Vanessa. “We’re a family and we have to have each other’s backs when we need help.”

Military life is not without its challenges, especially for those at the beginning of their careers. Vanessa said she was happy to come to the wing back in 2017 and have her brothers here for her.

“If I was here without them, it wouldn’t be the same,” said Vanessa. “Having my brothers here with me really helped me come out of my shell.”

The siblings are aware of their reputation as a family within the wing and they strive to use that as an example to each other and their Wingmen. Vanessa said her brothers set a high standard that she feels motivated to live up to.

“It’s nice to know people see us that way,” she said. “It’s tough to be compared sometimes, but it pushes me to perform the best I can.”

Victor, as the oldest and highest ranking sibling said he is aware of that responsibility and he takes it to heart.

“Having my siblings here at the wing heightens my focus,” he said. “It drives me to be the best Airman I can be, to set a good example for them.”