LOCAL MOM TELLS STORY
I Am The Mission - SrA Alicia Buhr
- By Master Sgt. Chris Schepers, 175th Wing
Warfield Air National Guard Base, Md. -- Meet U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Alicia Buhr, a structures journeyman assigned to the 175th Civil Engineer Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard.
As a child, Buhr knew that serving in the military was something that she wanted to do, but circumstances did not allow her to immediately enlist.
“Ever since I was a little kid I was in a family with all boys and I knew that I wanted to be in the military,” said Buhr. “When I had my son the year after I graduated high school, I didn’t know about the Guard. Being a mother I thought [military service] would be impossible for me.”
Buhr navigated motherhood and found a profession as a full-time mechanic that gave her the ability to care for her family but life was still challenging. 10 years into her civilian career, the desire to serve was still there.
“I had a child young, I was a mom 24/7,” explained Buhr. “I did a little bit of college but working three jobs to take care of my family was a bit too much.”
While having a conversation with a long-time friend, Buhr learned about the ‘best kept secret in the country’ and realized serving in the military was still an option. “I only knew or really thought about active duty and didn’t know about the Guard and Reserve,” said Buhr. “[My friend] said, ‘If this is something you are serious about and really want, we can make this happen but you have to work for it.’”
In March of 2017, she enlisted in the MDANG and trained to work with the civil engineers at Warfield Air National Guard Base in Middle River, Maryland. Buhr realized that she was joining a team that is a critical piece to ensuring the success of 175th Wing missions.
“We work closely with the heavy equipment operators and engineering technicians to ensure that the ground and structures we are building are perfect because if the foundation is not right everything built after will follow,” explained Buhr. “If the existing structures on base are not in a [good condition], that is a problem and it could impact the mission for everyone working in those areas.”
In her time at the Wing, Buhr has not shied away from volunteer opportunities overseas and in her local community. She said the military and civilian team supporting the mass COVID-19 vaccination site at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore became “like a family” and they were proud to help get the community back to a “more normal way of life.”
“When COVID hit I didn’t know any details about what we were going to do but I volunteered without question because I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to help,” explained Buhr. “It was a great experience because not only were we as a group coming together from different squadrons on base but we were working with partners from the stadium authority, medical professionals, and nurses.”
Shortly after that mission, another volunteer opportunity presented itself to Buhr and again without hesitation she raised her hand. Buhr would deploy to Japan to assist Active Duty Air Force personnel for a limited time to build a maintenance bay that was destroyed by a typhoon on a MPA Tour.
Military Personnel Appropriation Man-day Tours or MPA Tours, are tours of duty authorized to support short-term needs of the active force.
“The Active Duty needed the Guard and Reserve to assist them with their workload while they were taking care of training requirements,” said Buhr. “We also participated in their training and enhanced our readiness. We also had the opportunity to work on pre-engineered buildings, which we don’t have here but would have on deployments, so it was great to get that training.”
Looking back over her military career, she remains grateful for the opportunities she has experienced while serving her state and nation.
“I love the Guard and it has provided a lot for my family,” said Buhr. “If you want it, stick with it, and put in the effort, and you can get what you want.”