Arthur E. Buford was born on August 26, 1946 in Gulfport, Mississippi. He joined the Army in 1964 and graduated from Advanced Individual Training at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, as an Engineer Missile Maintenance Repairman. Assigned to the 84th Engineer Battalion at Fort Ord, California, he deployed with the battalion to Qui Nhon, Vietnam, where he learned to be an automotive mechanic. He left the Army in 1967 for six months but then joined up again, this time as a wheeled vehicle mechanic serving in Korea and West Point, New York, before returning to Vietnam where he served as the Motor Sergeant of the 327th Signal Company at Long Bin from 1969 to 1970.
Returning to the United States, he served as Motor Sergeant for A Battery 1/16th Field Artillery at Fort Hood, Texas, until 1972. Buford was then off to Germany to serve as Motor Sergeant for C Company, 3/68th Armor, 8th Infantry Division. Due to his outstanding maintenance operation, the battalion commander selected Buford's company to undergo the division's Maintenance Evaluation Team Inspection three times. Buford returned to the United States in 1974 as Motor Sergeant for C Company, 6/32d Armor at Fort Carson, Colorado, where he received one of Carson's highest inspection scores for combat vehicles during his unit's Annual General Inspection.
In 1975, Buford joined the 64th Forward Support Battalion and deployed with it to Wiesbaden, Germany, to become part of the 8th Infantry Division where he served as Platoon Sergeant for A Company's 84-man Mechanical Maintenance Platoon. Buford was then transferred to C Company, 1/70th Armor as Motor Sergeant in 1978 to straighten out the company's maintenance program. Under his leadership it became the best in the battalion, passing the Division Maintenance Evaluation Team Inspection and maintaining the highest operational readiness rates during field training.
Buford returned to the United States in 1970 to serve as Motor Sergeant for B Company, 24th Supply and Transportation Battalion at Fort Stewart, Georgia. He was then selected as part of the Army's new Full Time Manning Program to serve for two years as Motor Sergeant for the 757th Light Equipment Maintenance Company, US Army Reserve, San Antonio, Texas. Buford returned to Germany in 1982 where he served as First Sergeant of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 21st Support Command, at Kaiserslautern with an assigned strength of 560 officers and Soldiers.
In 1985, Buford was selected Battalion Motor Sergeant for the 9th Infantry Division's 5th Support Battalion (Main) at Fort Lewis, Washington. He was commended for establishing a consolidated battalion motor pool and implementing organizational maintenance standard operating procedures. In 1987, Buford arrived at the Ordnance Center and School (USAOC&S), Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, to take command of the newly established Basic Noncommissioned Officer Company (BNCOC). He next served as the Command Sergeant Major of the 143d Ordnance Battalion, USAOC&S, also located at Aberdeen. His final assignment, from 1990 to 1991, was as Commandant of the USAOC&S Noncommissioned Officer Academy (NCOA), preparing it for its successful second TRADOC accreditation. Command Sgt. Maj. Buford retired in December 1991 after 27 years of dedicated service to the United States Army.