Wrestling with purpose

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Spencer Kanar
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Jesus Medrano and his son Jesus Antonio Medrano are not your typical father-son duo. Known as Big Chuy and Little Chuy, they not only work at the 377th Flight Test Missile Maintenance Squadron at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, but volunteer in their free time coaching a sport they share a deep passion for: wrestling.

Big and Little Chuy currently work in the Instrumentation Lab of the 377th FTMMXS which maintains and tests the electronics and testing instrumentation on the LGM-30G Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. Big Chuy is the Instrumentation Lab supervisor in charge of overseeing maintenance operations and training new personnel.

“I love my job,” said Big Chuy. “I did 20 years in the Air Force, and even after I retired I still had that desire to come back. I missed being in the missile business, it’s what I grew up on and I’ve never really left ICBMs for anything else throughout my career.”

Little Chuy works as a technician maintaining the electronics systems and testing instrumentation for the Minuteman III.

“I started here at the end of December 2017 after my dad told me that a position had opened up. I still wanted to serve so I applied and I’ve been working with my dad since then,” said Little Chuy. “My dad was excited about me coming in and that we would be able to work together. It helps because he knows me pretty well, we understand what each other’s work commitment is, and our standards which helps us continue to press on and ensure that we’re doing our jobs correctly.”

From an early age, Little Chuy was encouraged by his dad to try many sports such as baseball and basketball. Wrestling, however, was a sport he pursued on his own and was still met with the same encouragement from his dad. Big Chuy recognized his son’s potential and continued to show his support through coaching for local wrestling programs from youth to high school by leveraging their leadership and mentoring skills they developed during their time in the military.

Little Chuy started wrestling when he was in fourth or fifth grade when he was living with his father in Wyoming. Little Chuy’s best friend had invited him to come to wrestling practice with him and he just kept going.

“I kept with it since it was one of the few sports I actually chose for myself and I enjoyed it,” said Little Chuy. “I loved the competitiveness. I never let how hard it got deter me, I just kept pushing through.”

Big Chuy developed his passion for wrestling while coaching his son, a passion that would only grow with time.

“I’ve always been into helping out even before my son started playing sports,” expressed Big Chuy. “I attended my wrestling practice with my son whenever I could and one day the head coach asked me for help and it just evolved from there.”

Big Chuy continued to coach wrestling throughout Little Chuy’s time in school. Around this time, Little Chuy began to develop his passion for coaching. While attending college, Little Chuy would help coach at his old high school whenever he could. After attending a year of college, Little Chuy answered the nation’s call and decided to join the Navy, but continued to coach until leaving for Navy boot camp in 2013.

“I attended every day of practice,” Little Chuy expressed. “I coached every day through the 2012 and 2013 wrestling seasons until I had to leave for Navy bootcamp. Even when I was in the service during the holidays, when I came back home, I would find the time to help the kids.”

After leaving the Navy in 2017, Little Chuy would be invited to help coach full time where he still coaches today with his father.

When asked what drives them to continue coaching, volunteering their time in the service and to the community, both Big and Little Chuy expressed that the kids and the bonds they form together continue to fuel their passion.

Utilizing the leadership skills they developed during their time in the military and while coaching, Big and Little Chuy work together to build the character of those around them. Building both their fellow Airmen and their wrestling students' self-esteem and discipline and teaching them to have the confidence to believe in themselves demonstrates that the Chuy’s truly embody the Air Force core value: Service Before Self.