In support of the Chaplain Corps mission: Airman 1st Class Sara Boucher
By Airman Elijah Van Zandt, 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 15, 2020
MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- An extremely small town - Blairsville, Georgia was Airman 1st Class Sara Boucher’s home for 27 years before joining the Air Force.
“I had four jobs before the military,” said Boucher. “Joining was always something I wanted to do but something kept me from taking the next step.”
Opportunities were slim in Bowersville and Boucher knew that the Air Force would provide her the foundation to continue doing what she enjoyed, helping others.
“I loved working at the humane society but I was barely making a living and was having a rough time,” she said. “I knew I needed some stability in my life so I went to a recruiter and the process happened very quickly.”
While in basic training, Boucher was interviewed by two chaplains to get a sense if she would be a good fit in the career field because of the stressful nature of the job.
“They looked for emotional intelligence and to see if I was able to pick up on non-verbal cues,” said Boucher.
Needless to say, she got the job and is now a 341st Missile Wing Chaplain Corps religious affairs Airman, supporting the mission of providing spiritual care to Malmstrom Air Force Base.
When reflecting on her interview at basic training, Boucher knew that her life experiences would play a factor in being fit for the role.
“My age helped, and I lost my father in 2015 so I’ve dealt with death and I’m able to walk with someone through that journey because I’ve been there before,” said Boucher.
There are no religious requirements for Airmen in the career field, however, they are required to have knowledge on various religions which is taught through technical training. This expertise is used to set up for weekly services held at the chapel and to engage with service members from different religious backgrounds.
“Religion is fascinating to me and I’ve enjoyed learning and experiencing a little bit of everything,” said Boucher. “I love being neutral because if an Islamic Airman comes to me, I want that person to feel just as comfortable as a Roman Catholic or Protestant.”
Boucher was the first pipeline religious affairs Airman to join the Chaplain Corps at Malmstrom in 12 years, and is currently the only junior enlisted member. When her master sergeant deployed, it was up to Boucher to carry the majority of the work-load on a daily basis.
“It was like constantly playing catch-up, not only to life in the military, but to my career field as well,” she said.
Her duties include managing administrative and financial tasks, as well as supporting Airmen who walk through the door needing someone to talk with.
“I want to be there for Airmen as a level-headed and calm presence,” said Boucher. “Everything is confidential, and while we don’t provide counseling, we do our best to help anyone with the situation they are going through - even if that means just venting.”
Boucher is thankful for the opportunity to work at the chapel because of the impact she has on the installation every day.
“This is a very fulfilling job – not only am I acting in the best interest of all the Airmen on Malmstrom, but I’m also working with chaplains who are working so hard and selflessly to keep the mission going.”