Some in the business aviation industry leave behind their families and jobs to serve in active war zones. In the continuing AIN series intended to recognize those in our community who defend the way of life we continue to enjoy back home, senior editor David A. Lombardo spoke with Duncan Aviation airframe mechanic Derrick Buggi about his recent service in the Mid East. This is Buggi’s story. If you or someone you know in business aviation is in harm’s way on our behalf, we’d like to hear from you.
SSgt. - 155th Air Refueling Wing
Nebraska Air National Guard
Airframe Mechanic, Duncan Aviation, Lincoln
I was motivated by being able to do my part for my country and the state of Nebraska. I really wanted to make my family proud and to be the kind of person my children would look up to,” Buggi said. “I have numerous family members who served in the military going back to my grandfather and his naval service in the Korean War. I feel a real sense of pride in being a part of something bigger and being a member of the greatest military in the world.” Buggi, a maintenance operations controller in the Nebraska Air National Guard, coordinates all maintenance transactions on the KC-135R refueler.
“I maintain visual aids to show the status of all our aircraft, including current location, job discrepancies, fuel loads and other vital information needed for mission readiness. It requires using different computer programs to manage each aircraft’s record of maintenance transactions,” he said.
He also dispatches personnel to the aircraft to perform maintenance and monitors their progress to ensure the work is being carried out in accordance with mission requirements. Buggi was deployed to Al Udied Air Base, Qatar, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and also served in theater for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
When not on duty with the Air National Guard, Buggi is an airframe mechanic for Duncan Aviation in Lincoln, Neb., where he is a member of a team that specializes in Citations and Hawkers. Buggi said the team does troubleshooting, function testing and repair of aircraft systems and components.
“My direct supervisor has been extremely generous and the managers are supportive; everyone encourages my involvement with the Guard. Overall, Duncan Aviation has been supportive. Management respects my decision to be in the military and understands this requires time away from my civilian job,” Buggi said. “When I’m deployed, my team members adjust to the increased workload by filling in as necessary.”
Buggi said leaving his family is his biggest concern when he’s deployed with the Guard. “I’m always comfortable with my own situation when I’m with the Guard. I worry about what I can’t control back home, whether it is a medical problem or something as simple as a problem with the house or one of our vehicles. It worries me that leaving my wife Jasmin will be a heavy burden on her,” he said. Buggi and his wife have four children: Gabreelah (nine), Derrick Jr. (six), Ava (four) and Aesop (18 months).
“My family copes well with my deployments, with Jasmin taking on
the additional duties; she steps up where I leave off. Gabreelah plays a
big role in assisting my wife with the younger children and general house chores,” he said.
One of the positive aspects of being deployed in today’s military is the availability of communication options. “I stay in touch with my wife and kids over the Internet. We have Web chats and are able to see one another with Web cams, which makes the situation easier,” Buggi said. “When I was deployed during Christmas 2009 I was able to watch the family open presents Christmas morning over the Internet.
“You tend to take being with your family, and a lot of life’s conveniences, for granted. Being deployed brings clarity to what’s important in your life and how precious time is with your loved ones. It’s often the simple things I miss the most, such as waking up next to my wife and the sound of my kids in the morning.
Serving in the military isn’t just about what you do; it also includes what your family has to endure while you’re gone, and a lot of credit should be given to all involved. I’m proud to serve my country and proud that my family is equally dedicated.n