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Joint Base Andrews News

NEWS | April 24, 2020

America's Airman: SSgt. Alec Buersken

By Airman 1st Class Spencer Slocum 11th Wing Public Affairs

What's your full name, job title and unit?

 Alec Jon Buersken, Executive Aircraft Security, 811 SFS

What's your hometown city and state (and country, if not U.S.)?

Maplewood, Minnesota

Why did you decide to serve in the military?

I have wanted to serve in the Military since I was a child. The first time I saw “Saving Private Ryan” I was in awe watching the medics running up and down the beaches. Ever since then I knew I wanted to join and help those that sacrifice so much for our freedom.

 How do you think your job impacts the wing’s mission?

My job at Andrews is unique. It grants me the opportunity to support the top leadership of not only the military, but the United States government. On a day to day basis, my team protects assets vital to the transportation of the President, Vice President, Cabinet Secretaries, Joint Chiefs of Staff and other top officials as well as Foreign Heads of State. Without my position Air Force aircraft transporting, these individuals could be susceptible to theft/hijacking, sabotage, destruction, or attack while in foreign countries.  We are the deterrent for those attempting to do so.

 What's been your favorite assignment/TDY and why?

My favorite assignment was Aviano Air Base, Italy. I served various roles from Response Force Team Leader, Patrolman, and Exclusion Area Entry Controller.  Not only did I get the opportunity to secure PL-1 assets, but I was also charged with protecting Air Force and Army personnel living in Italy. As a patrolman, I responded to many burglaries and worked closely with Italian Military Police, “Carabinieri” in order to assist with their investigations while completing required documentation for both Air Force and Italy. As an Entry Controller, I was the first line of defense protecting our nation’s most powerful weapons while implementing security procedures to ensure their defense. My time at Aviano taught me about leadership, and how vast the Security Forces responsibilities reach.  These roles gave me a sense of pride in what I do and working with our NATO countries expanded my knowledge of the world and the role America plays in it.

What is your dream assignment and why?

My dream is to be stationed anywhere in Germany. I took three years of German in high school and I would love to expand my knowledge and proficiency in the language. I also like working closely with foreign militaries and learning how other countries operate. This would only continue to make me a better Airman and leader.

What's the coolest thing you’ve done in the military?

I was the only airman hand selected to work with the Vice Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs security detail. I coordinated route surveillance and surveyed buildings along side Army Criminal Investigation Division to ensure the safety of Gen. Selva throughout the duration of his visit to Aviano Air Base.

What hobbies do you have/what do you do in your spare time?

During my spare time I enjoy spending time with my wife Caitlynn, and my daughter Elena. With my work schedule I sometimes spend weeks away from them at a time. With that, I try my best to spend as much time with them as I can while I’m home. Together we like to travel, a hobby we picked up from Italy, exploring our surrounding cities and national parks. I also play guitar in my free time and enjoy working out, playing sports, and swimming.

Biggest challenge you’ve faced in your life?

During my first Pre-Raven course here at Andrews, my wife was still overseas with an upcoming medical separation from the military due to pregnancy. Meanwhile, I was dealing with the grueling physical and mental challenges of training, while unpacking a whole house worth of TMO. After passing the second and arguably hardest week of training I was diagnosed with Bronchitis and was told I would not be able to continue. This did not deter me from my goal, I went through the next course, graduating the Phoenix Raven Qualification Course that following August.  After all of that, I truly figured out how hard I was able to push myself. To this day it has made me stronger and better equipped to take on any challenge that comes before me.