Airman's faith in God, mission helps him succeed

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
With more than 20,000 personnel, the security forces career field is one of the largest in the United States Air Force. Their mission: to keep Airmen across the globe safe and secure.

From base to base, these men and women complete many different tasks pertaining to their installation's specific responsibilities. No matter the location, their core charge of protecting the people, property and resources of the USAF stays the same.

At Malmstrom Air Force Base, the mission of guarding a key component of America's nuclear defense triad falls on these defenders. For one Airman, he attributes his ability to accomplish this daily mission to his faith in God and his belief in the importance of his work.

Senior Airman Nick Bunch, 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron site security leader, grew up in a military household. Coming from a family with a long tradition of military service, Bunch joined the USAF in May of 2011 and has since been stationed at Malmstrom, working every day as defender alongside his brothers and sisters in arms.

"I saw my dad shine his boots in the living room every night when they still had the (battle dress uniform) in the Army," said Bunch. "My father retired from the Army as a sergeant first class and my mother was also a staff sergeant."

Born in Germany while his father was stationed overseas, Bunch has lived in more than eight locations during his childhood. The majority of his time was spent Columbia, South Carolina, which is where he considers home to be.

Being a part of his family's history and continuing the legacy of the military is important to Bunch. Seeing his brother join and being able to share stories with his family as they shared stories with each other about deployments and places they had been motivated him even more to enlist and continue the tradition, he said.

Since being stationed at Malmstrom, Bunch has worked as a mobile fire team leader for three of his four years on station. In October of 2014, he moved on to become a site security leader. 

"A lot of our commanders have said that we have the hardest job in the Air Force," said Bunch. "Our section specifically, and I firmly believe that."

For most, long hours in the missile field and away from family and loved ones can take its toll. Weather conditions, extended shifts and a heavy work load come with the territory, but wingmanship and faith help Bunch get through the hard times, he said.

"First and foremost, the thing that keeps me motivated is my faith in God," said Bunch. "Being really involved in the church gives you a sense of purpose. You're putting your efforts into a positive venue to help others. That's what I really love to do, help others."

In addition to his faith, Bunch has an avid love for theater, which he believes has helped him get out of his comfort zone and given him the ability to form new friendships.

One day, a friend of his urged him to see a performance she was in, so he decided to check it out. The next thing he knew, Bunch was getting asked to participate in plays and local productions on a reoccurring basis.

His most recent appearance was in a production celebrating Black History Month. The act included everything from singing to dancing and even a slam poetry piece on Bunch's part. According to Bunch, it's the little things like these events that helped him to really find himself while stationed at Malmstrom.

"You have to keep yourself motivated and step outside your comfort zone," said Bunch. "What really keeps me motivated is I realize that I've matured a lot by being here. This place will either grow you up or grow you out. I decided to let it grow me up. You have to embrace it."

Faith in the mission and a realization of the importance of what he does keeps him pushing through the obstacles. For him, trust in God and in the abilities of wingmen that are by his side help him excel at what he does, even with those obstacles to overcome.

"At the end of the day, this is rewarding because I'm not alone," said Bunch. "I have great leadership that looks out for us and we are all in the same boat. Us as Airmen, we have each other and we all go through the same things.

"We have that backbone with each other that we can lean on," he continued. "It's who you have next to you, and who you have to your left and your right that makes the job easier."