By Adrienne Anderson
Fort Belvoir Eagle
FORT BELVOIR, Va., June 22, 2015 – Two soldiers are celebrating their life-long friendship and marking the close of their military careers here this month.
Army 1st Sgt. Shana Tinsley and Army Sgt. 1st Class Victoria Buggs joined the military together in 1995. The inseparable pair were born and raised in Gary, Indiana, where they met in high school.
Now, 20 years later, they are retiring.
Joining the Army
The two joined the Army on the buddy system, which allowed them to go through basic training and Advanced Individual Training together. However, after completing training, the two weren’t stationed together.
“Even in basic and AIT, we got in trouble together,” Tinsley said about her closeness with Buggs, as they grew up and went through the military together.
During their first assignment, Tinsley was stationed in Bamberg, Germany, and Buggs served in Darmstadt, Germany.
Up until Tinsley transferred to Northern Virginia six years ago, the two never had an assignment together. Despite that, they did what they could to keep in touch.
Tinsley is first sergeant at Fort Belvoir Garrison Headquarters and Headquarters Company. Buggs worked at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
Tinsley said she and Buggs would try to coordinate their vacation time together, so they could spend time together. Or, they would visit each other if they were stationed close to each other.
Both are married and have children. Their families stay in contact, as well.
Post-retirement Plans to Travel, Relax
After retirement, both women have big plans to spend more time with their families, travel and relax.
“Both of us have been deployed, we have been separated from our families, we have been to a lot of military schools, we have been separated [from each other] -- we have a lot of history together,” Tinsley said. “Now we are really focusing the next year on traveling, on us and our families.”
The two also have plans for their own businesses. Buggs has already started her business, while Tinsley said she will focus on starting her own. They said they will be able to focus on themselves and accomplish new things.
“Changing from soldier to … being able to hang out and get our nails done and get a pedicure together -- actually get some color,” Buggs said. “We are female, but getting that femininity back as a wife and a beautiful woman.”
Buggs retired last week, and Tinsley is set to retire June 26.
“[Retiring] is something that we really wanted to do together because we valued our time in the service and … we are ready to start a new chapter in our lives,” Tinsley said. “We’ll still be together on the other side.”