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Jack of all trades: Facility Managers

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elijah Van Zandt
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

The 24/7 year-round mission requirements of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile means certain career fields live at the missile complex for days on end.

Missile security forces personnel provide safety and security to the missile complex, missileers conduct operations approximately 60-feet below the MAF, ready to launch an ICBM at a moment’s notice; and missile chefs attend to the nutritional needs of all personnel living at the MAF.

However, none of this is possible without the MAF facility manager, who is responsible for the daily up-keep and maintenance of the building and supervising the enlisted personnel living at the facility during the field rotation.
Master Sgt. Justin Smith, 490th Missile Squadron senior enlisted leader, explained the important role FMs play in the ICBM mission.

“Facility managers are the link between the capsule crew and the topside personnel,” said Smith. “They oversee maintaining the facility, the cleanliness, the care and feeding of personnel living there - they ensure mission completion.”

They are also responsible for the equipment on the site, from the missile equipment down to the silverware.
“Whether its furniture or appliances that need to be transported to the site, or small equipment that needs to be fixed, we’re in charge of all of that,” said Tech. Sgt. Timothy Hankins, 490th MS facility manager operations non-commissioned officer in-charge.

Because there is only one FM per MAF, they are trained in a variety of skills that may be required depending on the situation.

“We’re responsible for cutting the grass, fixing small equipment and doing the small jobs that keep the mission going out there,” said Hankins. “We also troubleshoot and fix small issues with the building if we can, but for anything major we schedule maintenance to come fix the problem.”

Most importantly, FMs are on-call for the entire time they are in the missile field. They aid missileers, defenders and the missile chefs when they can, and coordinate with the Wing Operation Center if unpredictable situations arise.
“I have done emergency helicopter refuels at 11 o’clock at night,” said Hankins. “The situations are random, but I’m here to serve in any capacity I can to get the mission done.”

The job is classified as a special duty, which means all AFSC NCOs are eligible to apply for the job from any base. It also gives Airmen the opportunity to continue their careers at Malmstrom rather than PCS.

Global Strike command relies on FMs to not only complete their duties but assist other missile personnel in their mission as well, which will continue to make FMs a valuable part of the nuclear enterprise for years to come.

“Without FMs the MAF would eventually shut down because they are the ones who have been working in the buildings and with the equipment for years,” said Hankins. “We play a critically important role in day-to-day operations in the missile complex.”