GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. --
Being committed to a job well done and going above and beyond the call of duty is a key component of leadership. For some it takes practice.
For others like Staff Sgt. Lance Buechler, it comes naturally and has earned him command-level recognition.
The Ferdinand, Indiana native, a member of the 434th Security Forces Squadron, was recently named the Security Forces Outstanding Airman of the Year for 2019.
It’s an honor that he humbly takes in stride.
“At first I was surprised, “Buechler said of his award. “I knew I was nominated but I didn’t think I’d actually win.”
“I started thinking about the different people that allowed me to get to this point, like the people I deployed with or leadership back here at Grissom, and I sent them all a text to let them know how thankful I was for them and for giving me this opportunity,” he added.
While Buechler may still be in shock that he’s won the award, his leadership is not.
“He’s a natural leader,” said Tech Sgt. Nathan Lush, 434th SFS leader. “He’s the type of person that people do things for without him having to ask. People seem to gravitate toward his personality. “
Lush was Buechler’s supervisor during a recent deployment to the Middle East.
“He always volunteered and was always performing above his rank,” Lush said. “I was tasking him to do those things because I knew he was capable.”
Providing a security detail to Italy’s Prime Minister, deterring terrorist attacks, protecting millions of dollars in assets are just a few details on the list of Buechler’s accomplishments.
To him, it’s simply doing his job, and something he loves. It’s also a part of why he joined the Air Force.
“I wanted to do something bigger than myself and to motivate me in my career field,” said Buechler.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business management from Indiana State University, Buechler became a contract specialist at the Naval Support Activity Center at Crane Naval Station, Indiana.
“I’ve been pretty fortunate to work there as well,” he said. “The more I learn about the position, the more opportunity opens up for me to work on bigger contracts.”
While deployed, he not only kept busy by safeguarding his base, he also mentored other Airmen and completed work toward his Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern Indiana.
“During a deployment, you get there and the ball’s rolling pretty much the first day you get on flight. There’s a lot going on and a lot to learn,” Buechler said.
“When I could help people out and let them know that they could come to me with questions, that’s what I tried to do in providing information that I would want to know in their situations.”
Buechler believes it’s about paying it forward.
“That’s how I got in the positon I’m in, with my leaders doing whatever needed to be done and leading by example,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of great people and had a lot of great leadership. I’m very fortunate to be where I am.”
As he continues his work at Crane and his academic studies, his mission at Grissom is still a top priority and one he plans to commit to for the foreseeable future.
“I like the people that I’m with and I like our mission,” Buechler said. “I like having the opportunity to go places that I’d never get to go if I wasn’t in the military.
“Sometimes people say if they’re not laughing at you, your goals aren’t big enough. My goal is to eventually promote to Senior or Chief Master Sgt; not just to be able say I’m that high but to be able to mentor people.”