Life can take us all over the world and put us in situations that might not be all that pleasant, but the strong can adapt, survive and look forward to their next adventure. Tony Silva lives this crazy life as a Captain in the Air National Guard, a Department of Defense contractor and a native Idahoan rancher that loves all three roles in his life.
For the past three years Tony has spent half his time in Afghanistan, not as a soldier, but as a civilian Department of Defense contractor for AAR Airlift. As a Low Cost Low Altitude Intel Analyst (LCLA) he works with the Army, but is a point of contact for all military bases wherever he is stationed. His planning skills, that assist the military with low level air drops and low level flying missions, puts him in as much danger as enlisted soldiers and of course he experiences the same type of emotions as well. But Tony admits that being overseas is harder on the families than the soldiers. “The families go to war too” he says, “sometimes they sacrifice more than the soldiers.”
Tony just returned from Afghanistan at the beginning of June, but had to turn around, in four short days, and head to Reno to fulfill his other job requirement as a Captain in the Air National Guard. (We were honored to find out through Twitter that his first stop back on US soil was a trip to D&B. Thank you Tony for your service.) Because his job takes him overseas half the year, his Guard obligation of one weekend a month and two weeks a year, has to be made up when he returns to the United States. Tony and his girlfriend of five years, Tina, pack up their house, their dogs, make sure family and friends can take care of their small herd of cows and they head to Reno anywhere from one to three months. His Guard duty missions can be spread out over months at a time because he flies all over our country doing low level drops as a Radar Operator but eventually, Tony heads home to Caldwell, Idaho for his third job as a rancher.
Growing up in Kuna and around his dad’s ranch, Tony has ranching in his blood. Because of his current time constraints, he only has ten head of cattle and nine new calves, but plans on becoming a full time rancher when he retires someday. His girlfriend, Tina, takes care of their ranch when he is gone, which is a huge feat for a gal that never saw a cow in person until she moved to Idaho five years ago. She is not afraid of animals or what gets thrown into her lap, including a recent twin birth of one of their cows. Tina is a former Sea World trainer of gators and snakes, something you won’t see being raised on their ranch — yet. Tony says never.
Like any good ranching family, they take care of their own. With power, hay, corn and fertilizer prices continually rising over the years, ranching is increasingly more difficult but everyone kicks in and helps each other out. Tony’s parents, sister, half brother, four nephews and of course the neighbors all live a four-wheeler ride away and all help each other out when in need. Taking care of each other is just what you do.
While attending college at Boise State University, Tony was with the Idaho Air National Guard and after graduating in 2004, he started this crazy life he now leads with Tina and will continue to do so for as long as he is needed. He is extremely proud to serve his country both as a civilian and in the Guard. He and Tina plan on retiring back to Idaho someday but are up for any adventure that comes their way for now.