By Staff Sgt. Erin Johns
| 38th Infantry Division | Jan. 21, 2020
Two brothers deployed to Southwest Asia have made careers in the Indiana Army National Guard, but this is the first time they have deployed at the same time. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Erin Johns)
Two brothers deployed to Southwest Asia have made careers in the Indiana Army National Guard, but this is the first time they have deployed at the same time.
Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Buzzard and Sgt. Jeremiah Buzzard grew up in southern Indiana playing football, participating in sports and learning Hoosier heritage surrounded by the flat and open fields of Bartholomew County where you can often see for miles under a soft blue sky.
The Buzzard brothers also followed each other into the military with just a few years between their individual enlistments.
Joshua, from Hartsville, currently supports Task Force Spartan as a construction equipment mechanic with the 1313th Engineer Company. He also has previous experience with supervising mechanics and wheeled vehicle maintenance from two other deployments under his belt.
Jeremiah, a citizen-warrior from Trafalgar, is serving on his second deployment this time with the Headquarters and Support Company, 38th Infantry Division, for Operation Spartan Shield, and shares wheeled vehicle maintenance skills with his brother, Josh.
Josh’s little girls and his son, and Jeremy’s sons, get the same type of Indiana country childhood their fathers’ shared.
Depending on the season in Indiana their children can see beauty ranging from knee-high corn stalks on the 4th of July, tan-topped crops in autumn ready for harvest, cut corn stalks poking up above the snow in winter or freshly plowed black dirt readied for planting.
Task Force Spartan sat down for an interview with the two brothers shortly after Christmas. The Buzzard brothers are serving with Task Force Spartan maintaining equipment that keeps Spartan soldiers ready to respond to regional aggression and to support joint partnership exercises in the Middle East.
TASK FORCE SPARTAN PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Who's older?
JOSH: I am. By 21 months.
TFS: What did growing up look like?
JOSH: We did sports together, we did 4-H together. We went to the same school then we kinda followed each other throughout high school and into the military. Now, we're both here.
TFS: What are some of the principles that you feel are shared in your family?
JEREMY: Hard work ethic, respect, for each other, for our siblings, for our parents. Just, honestly, a hard work ethic.
TFS: What's the most exciting work you've done together?
JEREMY: Gosh, we always grew up bailing hay together. That was a lot of fun and a lot of hard work.
JOSH: We both have antique tractors. We like messing with those, playing with those. We both enjoy running chainsaws and cutting firewood and stuff like that.
JEREMY: Being outdoors.
TFS: Did you go camping as a family?
JEREMY: Not really.
BUZZARD BROTHERS: laughing
TFS: Really? So, why the love of the outdoors?
JEREMY: I just like being outdoors, it's peaceful and tranquil out there. I don't like the city life, and I'm sure he doesn't either.
JOSH: I like being outside because it gives me a chance to think about things. Like a little different approach from the hustle and bustle of family life, professional life and that stuff. When I am outside, just doing something, it gives me a chance to think about things, like long-term things. It gives me a chance to plan things and gives me an opportunity to get a perspective on the big picture.
TFS: You're both fathers, and you're both deployed. Do you share conversations about being deployed fathers, and if so, what do those sound like?
JEREMY: He shared how his daughter is going to miss him and how his daughter didn't really want him to go on this deployment because of the last deployment.
JOSH: I made a deal with her that this was going to be my last one. So, that's kind of where I'm at, but back to the kids, it's hard for them when we are gone, but I think it helps to have FaceTime and Wi-Fi to be able to talk to them and write letters.
JOSH: I picked up a coloring book that has perforated pages. I color one side and send it home, then they hang it up or color the other side and send it back. Back in 2009, we didn't have the opportunity to be able to FaceTime, so things have changed a lot.
TFS: Do you share any tips or tricks since you have so much experience being deployed?
JEREMY: Back home, we literally work right across the street from each other. He works at the unit training equipment site at Camp Atterbury, and I work at the combined support maintenance shop at Camp Atterbury. We've shared knowledge, we've shared experiences, we try to help each other out the best we can.
TFS: So, you share knowledge on being 91Bs. Have you ever called each other to get help?
JEREMY: On certain things but not usually on military equipment.
JOSH: It's more the civilian stuff.
TFS: Tell me more about that.
JEREMY: I've done a lot more civilian stuff than he has, but he's done a lot more military stuff than I have. So, sometimes he calls me and I say try this. When it comes to civilian vehicles or even our antique tractors.
TFS: Tell me about what working on tractors and having that common bond looks like.
JOSH: Whatever I can find on YouTube or the manuals is what I go by. (Jeremy laughs in the background.) But he knows stuff that I don't know a lot of. We have different models that have different abilities, but it's all about the same theories of how they work. Some of that stuff I just don't know, but if he wants to know anything about construction equipment, I got him covered.
JEREMY: For the most part, we've got a lot of maintenance covered between the two of us.
TFS: Have you done any projects together?
JEREMY: What was the last project we did together? I know we cut wood together. We've probably worked on one of the tractors together. I know I helped you out with your old Honda that you had. Shoot.
TFS: How does that do when you work on something like that?
JOSH: Hey, man, can you fix it?
JOSH: Ok, let me know what you need.
JEREMY: Basically, sometimes, yeah.
TFS: Any conflict?
JEREMY: Not usually.
TFS: How have you gotten to the point as adult siblings that you don't have as much conflict?
JOSH: Because sometimes there are just things with my schedule and what I have going on with all the kids then it's easier for me just to take a step back and if he can do it, he's efficient at it, and he can make it happen then I trust him to do it. I don't really argue with it. If he says he can do, then he can do it.
JEREMY: Like the last time it was his Honda car, I had to redo brake lines, drop the fuel tank and change out the fuel pump and I had to change out the ignition switch.
TFS: What do your parents think of you being deployed together?
JEREMY: They miss us like crazy. They are trying to help out the best they can with both sets of grandkids.
TFS: Yeah, right. Wow. How's that going?
JEREMY: He lives close to our parents, and then I live about an hour away.
JOSH: I know they help out with his boys. Especially during the holidays, it is difficult to be a lot of places at the same time, but I know they have come over to see the girls and my son, making sure that our wives have them there if they need any help.
TFS: Do you have good family support back home?
TFS: How is going with your family support forward? Being deployed together?
JOSH: We talk to each other on an app.
JEREMY: He's sent me a lot of videos with what he's dealt with so far with all the flooding, and it's very comical and it's nice to watch. (chuckles)
TFS: Is it funny to you?
JOSH: No, um, no.
JEREMY: Probably not.
Both brothers laugh a little.
JOSH: When we first got here, I ended up messaging him with hey, are you awake? He ended up coming to breakfast with me and helped me set up my Sapphire that wasn't working, so that was a huge plus.
JEREMY: So he could start contacting his family back home.
TFS: Do you have any shared stories about working with people with different mindsets than rural Hoosier values and being deployed, working with other people who don't share that background?
JOSH: Well, this is the first time we've been deployed together; usually, he's gone, or I'm gone and vice versa, not at the same time. This is the first time on that. It's hard to explain to people who haven't been a part of this life or mindset of a mission-first mentality. Since we're maintenance, you have to say, "Hey, since companies are dependent upon you to have these vehicles ready to go." You know, back home, my job is Monday through Friday and at 4:00 on Tuesday I'm out the door, and I don't care. When you're in this environment here, it's if you need to go after four to finish those trucks up so you can put it on the reports for missions going out the door. That is what you do. It's hard to put that into action or words with people who don't do this.
JEREMY: It's really hard to put into words when it comes to family back home because, during certain times, we can call our families, but if you have a mission, you have a mission because mission comes first.
TFS: So you outrank Sgt. Buzzard here and Sgt. Buzzard is technically higher headquarters. What do you think of that dynamic?
JEREMY: We didn't really think of that.
JOSH: We are brothers, it doesn't affect me. There's a time and place for the rank game and to build a team; sometimes, it isn't necessary.
JEREMY: That's a very true fact when it comes to maintenance. We can work smoothly together and get missions done and over with, especially in a timely manner. So when it comes to maintenance, he might outrank me, but if we are in a motor pool or the shop, it's brothers.
TFS: Is there anything you would like to add before we wrap up?
JOSH: It's definitely different this time around, and it's different having him over here with me, but I'll be glad when we get done with all this.
JOSH: I don't plan on keeping anything back here that I am going to have to come back here and get, so.
JEREMY: Maybe we can share a beer when we get back.
JOSH: Oh, yeah, we can do that. That's fine.