Upon graduating from New York University, Major Bussard attended Officer Candidates’ Course and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in August of 2000. He subsequently completed The Basic School and attended undergraduate Naval Flight Officer training, earning his NFO wings in August of 2002.
After completing replacement training in the F/A-18D, First Lieutenant Bussard was designated an F/A-18D Weapons Systems Officer (WSO) and reported to MAG 31, MCAS Beaufort, SC in October 2003, for assignment to VMFA(AW)-533. While assigned to the Hawks, he completed one Unit Deployment Program (UDP) deployment, and a subsequent deployment to Al Asad, Iraq, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. He accumulated over 1,000 flight hours, completed certification as a Forward Air Controller (Airborne) (FAC(A)) and was certified as a USMC Night Systems Instructor (NSI.)
Captain Bussard left Beaufort in October of 2006 with follow-on orders to Marine Wing Support Squadron 374, 29 Palms, CA. He served as Airfield Company Commander as well as Remain Behind Element OIC, ensuring uninterrupted operations at the 29 Palms Strategic Expeditionary Landing Facility (SELF) supporting unit training events as well as Exercise ENHANCED MOJAVE VIPER (EMV.)
Captain Bussard returned to Beaufort in November of 2008 for assignment to VMFA(AW)-224, where he served as assistant operations officer, and WSO training officer. Captain Bussard completed Navy Strike Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) as well as Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course, and completed two UDP deployments with the Bengals. In addition to certification as a WTI, he also completed the MAWTS-1 FAC(A) Instructor (FAC(A)I) certification.
In June of 2012, Major Bussard returned to the Western Pacific, this time for assignment to 4th Marine Regiment, 3d Marine Division, as Regimental Air Officer. Major Bussard implemented robust training plans and served as action officer on multiple PACOM exercises in conjunction with the return of UDP infantry battalions to Okinawa. He attended the WTI Air Officer Course and was designated a JTAC Instructor and Evaluator.
Following his time in Okinawa, Major Bussard returned to the cockpit in July of 2014 for a tour as an instructor WSO with VFA-106 aboard NAS Oceana, VA. He concurrently served as Executive Officer, Marine Aviation Training Support Group 33 (MATSG-33.) In July of 2015 he was reassigned to MAG-11 in order to join VMFA(AW)-225. While with the Vikings, he completed one UDP deployment, recertified as a (FAC(A)I,) and served as squadron maintenance officer.
In June 2017, Major Bussard departed VMFA(AW)-225 for assignment to Expeditionary Warfare Training Group, Pacific (EWTGPAC) to serve as an instructor in the Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) course, conducting initial certification training for Marine, Joint, and International Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs.) He served as the TACP course chief and interim TACAIR Division Head. In June of 2019, Major Bussard detached from EWTGPAC and assumed his current duties as Executive Officer, Marine Wing Support Squadron 373.
Major Bussard’s personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (Strike/Flight Numeral 6,) Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and Navy and Marine Corps achievement Medal. He has accumulated over 2,000 mishap-free flight hours in the F/A-18 D and F.