Living Memorial For Mark Buchy

Submitter’s Name: Mark Buchy
The Service Member’s Name: Jocelyn Roberts
Branch of Service: Air Force
Rank: Major 04
Military Job: Pilot
Hometown for Service Member: Corsicana
, Texas

Submitted by Navarro College Student Jocelyn Roberts

Just a Man and His Clouds

Who do you think of when you think of a hero?  Do you think of a man or woman in a costume with super powers?  My hero is not a man with super strength or super speed.  My hero is a man who fights for us, with bravery, strength and someone who is very focused on his job.  Mark Buchy was called into the Airforce the moment he was born.
Growing up in Virginia with his two brothers, one younger and the other older, was just the beginning of his training. His backyard was the woods close to the Appalachian Trail.  He and his brothers would play a game they created called “Army.”  There was a group of Girl Scouts at a camp, close to where they would play in the woods, and Buchy and his brother would get on the ground and sneak up on the girls approaching in the “Army” way.  They would also go hunting, which helped gain the military mind set.

Mark has always wanted to fly.  God placed that calling on his heart, at an early age.  He was drawn to the clouds, and was in love with the idea of soon being able to be face-to-face with them someday.  Mark joined the Air Force in 2002.  After he graduated college, he attended the Air Force prep school.  In 5th or 6th grade, he wanted an Apache Helicopter and then he decided he wanted to go faster than that so he was determined to be able to fly to biggest plane. 

I asked Major Buchy to explain the difference from “real life” to how it was where he was stationed.  He explained that it is a completely different world, you must be focused all the time and understand that people die sometimes.  He also explained that it is “freedom – literally like touching the clouds.”  His experience in the service was overall satisfactory; knowing that you are serving your country keeps you motivated.  He expressed “shear enjoyment and terror all wrapped up.”  I believe it; he could not have explained that any better. 

Major Buchy does not regret joining the Air Force.  He said, “You gain more skill sets that set you apart from the rest of the world.  You are always different from people that have not served.  The experiences are priceless.”  In addition, Mark has been to 36 countries in 40 years.  Travel is one of the amazing opportunities you get while serving.  While talking with him, I learned so much more of what these airmen go though, where they traveled and many of the things that they had to deal with – for us.

Just out of high school, on his first day of his 8-week boot camp, he told me that the new recruits do not know what is going on.  From the beginning, you cannot sleep because you are full of so many different emotions.  At 4:00 a.m., the Lieutenant would bang and make loud noises to wake you up.  While in boot camp, you realize you just keep your head down, move forward and keep your mouth shut.  You also learn how to stay focused on what is next.  You learn how to solve problems.  You must mentally prepare yourself while learning your job, you do not have time to be scared, you just take action.

I asked Major Buchy to share some of his memories.  He said that he has only good memories; some of his memory is blocked and he must think actively to remember.  Sometimes whenever he is talking about certain thing, it will unblock some memories and it will slowly come back to him.  He explained that he missed watching his kids grow, his youngest child, a son named Luke, is the only child out of three, he actually saw growing up.

While deployed, his Christian walk turned.  While talking to him about this, I understand now that those serving, when not on mission, might have time to write or read the bible and their connection with Christ grows because you may never know when it might be your last day. Mark said that the Air Force helps you understand how little you are.  He said that one time he was flying with 200 men in Iraq.  He was the captain and in charge.  He realized that the service members depended on him to reach their destination and complete their mission safely.  One time, at low altitude and little time to recover should something go wrong, he thought to himself, “What keeps a random bolt from coming loose?”  He knew at any point, something could go wrong, and that you just have to be brave and know that there is not “enough time to be scared.”

Mark is still in the Air Force Reserves.  He is reminded every day that the Air Force will always be in him.  I asked him if the movies do a good job expressing how it was.  His response was they do a great job and that sometimes when he watches a war movie “you hit an emotional memory.”  He said that “American Sniper” was very hard for him to watch; while watching it and seeing Iraq, it was so believable that he could smell Iraq and the movie brought back memories.  He said he did not like that it was so real to him that it triggered the “scent of memory.”  He will not watch the movie again as he does not want to put himself through it again. 

Major Buchy said being away from his family was the worst part.  Before he got his current civilian job, he could only be home every 2-3 weeks and only home for 24 hours.  Now with his civilian job, and his job in the Air Force Reserve, he can be home for 276 days a year. 

I asked him, “If you had a microphone to speak to us and give us a warning, what would it be?”  His answer was, “Do not be an ignorant American.  Our country is losing identity and our citizens are the reason for it.  We all need to be careful about losing our identity.”  I asked him how we could prevent that from happening.  Major Buchy said, “By the sweat of our brows, and work hard, and by not looking for handouts.” 

He is a still a leader in his civilian job and he enforces rules and regulations.  Before the interview ended Major Buchy added that while he was deployed he had a tight relationship with friends that shared the same experiences, there was an instant bond.  They never had to go out, party, hangout with anyone else to have fun; they had that bond that created the amusement.  They would just think and share what they all went through.

It was an honor getting to know Major Mark Buchy and hearing his story.  I thank him for his service and all he did to fight for us.