Lifting Success: Inside intel and the gym

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexander Schriner

LINCOLN, Neb. – A go-getter, someone who steps up to volunteer for everything, and a drive to always get better are a few things that come to mind for Capt. Mark Durant, 155th Air Refueling Wing chief of wing intelligence when asked to describe Staff Sgt. Alica Bushhousen, 155th Air Refueling Wing intelligence analyst.

Bushhousen’s commitment and focus are what sets her apart from her peers, she is a winner of the Nebraska Air National Guard’s 2022 Outstanding Airman of the Year for non-commissioned officer and a Nebraska state champion competitive powerlifter.

As an Intelligence Analyst, Bushhousen is responsible for discovering and analyzing raw data and then recognizing and assessing usable intelligence from a variety of sources, and provides that information to commanders to assist them in mission-critical decisions.

“My day-to-day consists of doing a lot of research putting products together, which is then presented in current intelligence briefs to command and the wing,” Bushhousen said. “This helps give everyone a strategic idea of what's going on in the world and what could affect our mission.”

Along with pre-deployment briefs, updating studies, and tactics to keep aircrew safe, Bushhousen has streamlined procedures in her shop.

Durant said she took the initiative to implement a new process for getting important information to the aircrew when they are already in the jet, which took coordination between other agencies on base.

Bushhousen explained what drives her to be involved and look for ways to improve her unit and mission capabilities.

“I try to always do things around base besides my job, that way I can help make the changes,” Bushhousen said. “Seeing my role, the things I’ve changed, and how it ties into the overall mission makes me happy.”

Bushhousen brings that same energy from the intel shop into the gym.

“I was training to be a bodybuilder and then switched to powerlifting because that had more of the competitive energy that matched me,” Bushhousen said. “I’ve now been powerlifting for three years and it has mentally helped me to always strive towards a goal.”

The switch turned out to be a good decision, said Bushhousen.

“The biggest thing has been being able to keep the drive over long periods of time,” said Bushhousen. “You’re working towards something you can’t see right away,”

And her drive has paid off, through her training she has won two Nebraska state championships and placed 18th at collegiate nationals.

Seeing the long-term effects of her job in intel and powerlifting down the road almost go hand in hand, said Bushhousen.

“You can’t necessarily see the work you’re putting in every day accompanied by immediate results. You may ask yourself why am I even doing this?,” Bushhousen said. “Overtime though you start to see all the things you accomplished and its lasting effects.”

Bushhousen embodies the Airman concept by bettering herself, those she comes in contact with, and her environment as a whole, said Durant.

“You can easily see it with her, like her willingness to always step up, deploying for us and what she does in the community,” Durant said. “We’re thankful to have someone like her on our team because she’s always looking to help others.”