Lt Johnny Cruz Buckingham had just received orders to Altus AFB to train to become an aerial refueling pilot in the KC-135. The training program was supposed to last five months before he would move on to his permanent assignment at Fairchild AFB in Spokane, WA. Rather than staying in On-Base Lodging (a basic hotel room for all intents and purposes), Johnny asked one of his pilot training buddies if there were any other places he could stay during those five months. When his friend asked Johnny if he had ever heard of a “crash pad”, little did he know that it would lead to what we know today as, Military Crashpad® (MC).
Johnny and his buddy Chris started looking for crash pads around Altus AFB and found that the market was very underdeveloped. At the time, the only alternative to staying in On-Base lodging consisted of just a handful of furnished apartments in the local area. With Altus having such a small number of crash pads, they were all booked solid. Rather than being forced to live in the base hotel for 5 months with nothing but a hot plate, mini fridge, and 300 sq. ft., the guys started searching for local realtors in Altus.
After purchasing their first house from a local realtor, Gregg Buck, Johnny and Chris researched how to form an LLC and their first crash pad partnership was born. Within no time, the house was quickly filled with some of their pilot training classmates.
First Five Tenants at the Foxtail House
The MC Family Gets Bigger
One crash pad quickly grew to be two crash pads and TDYCrashpad.com was created to list the houses. As time went on, their inventory continued to grow and with it the needs of the military members seeking places to stay. With more and more training programs requesting furnished military housing (to include other service branches), the name changed to MilitaryCrashpad.com to appeal to the broader military member. In a short time, MC has grown from a single crash pad to its own separate advertising platform that offers furnished housing solutions and moving tips like 4 Must-Haves For Your Randolph AFB Lodging.
At this point, Johnny took on additional partners and set out to expand the MC brand. Two more of Johnny’s pilot training classmates, Jeremy and Hatton, would join the company and became vital assets to the team. Shortly after, Dan and Amy would join and transform what would become the current version of MC and together they have built the platform that is here today.
From one house in southwest Oklahoma in 2013, MC has grown to an impressive 32 locations providing furnished military housing in eight states to nine different military installations in the span of just a few years. They plan to continue to expand their product and service additional bases as well as other branches and jobs in the military. By the end of 2018, they hope to have crash pads around the country to include NAS Pensacola, N.S. Great Lakes, MCRD San Diego, MCRD Parris Island, USAFA, USNA, and Ft Meade.
The Law of Competitive Advantage
One of the unique advantages that MC brings to the market is that it’s owned and operated by active duty veterans. That means they know what it’s like to go on deployments, move every few years, and what it’s like to be separated from their loved ones. The need to guess what their target audience is experiencing is eliminated because they are, or have been, at the exact same point in their military careers.
The owners of MC come from different backgrounds which gives them varying perspectives. While in the Air Force, Johnny was a KC-135 Aircraft Commander and a USAFA athletic instructor, but he also has experience working for the world’s largest hotel chain. Hatton and his wife are both USAF pilots who were first assignment instructor pilots before later going on to fly the C-17. Jeremy flew both the C-17 and completed a tour in the RQ-4 with orders to return back to the C-17. Dan is a distinguished graduate of USAFA and MIT with stints as a physicist at Kirtland AFB, a consultant at Boston Consulting Group, and currently the Director of Strategy at a publicly traded technology company. Amy is the Director of Human Resources at the second largest beverage distributor in the nation with an MPA and experience both in the public and private sector.
MC utilizes a service driven staff each with their own unique ties to the military. Haylie is an Air Force spouse whose husband is a B-1 pilot. Stephanie is Johnny’s younger sister and is finishing the last semester of her business degree. Arleen was the Director of Finance of New Mexico Tech for 32 years before she took on her role at MC. Ryan was a Developmental Engineer for the Air Force with experience in developmental testing, project management, and most recently operational testing for AETC at Randolph AFB.
Between the entire group, they’ve served 10 deployments in Afghanistan, Africa, Italy, and Qatar. They’ve completed a total of 18 PCSs, 67 TDYs, filed countless travel vouchers, dealt with On-Base lodging one too many times, and experienced a long list of other common headaches that their company has made their mission to get rid of. Also, noteworthy, the pilots in the group flew a combined total of 10 different airframes and experienced TDY lodging at various airfields around the world.
Spartans! What Is Your Profession???
MC’s mission is to help military members and their families navigate the common housing and moving issues that they experience throughout their career. Whether it’s a long-term or short-term housing need, help with effectively and efficiently moving from base to base, or finding a way to affordably manage it all, MC is doing all they can to create a platform and network to get you all the resources and answers you’ll need throughout your military career. They want to provide opportunities to network not only within your career field but with other career fields as well. Ultimately, they want to create a community where people can help people.
Since MC was created by veterans who are still in the community and have gone through these exact same issues, they have the ability to network and get all the answers to your questions whether it’s directly from their personal experiences or from someone in their network. This niche offering of solutions can be found in many other places across the internet, but it’s never been offered in one convenient platform, until now.
The next time you’re in need of furnished housing, moving help, or financial advice, visit MilitaryCrashpad.com and see all that they have to offer.