Chief Master Sgt. Frank Fidani, 341st Missile Wing command chief, his wife Ellen, and their two children Massimo, 9, and Francesca, 6, post for a photo overlooking Sluice Boxes State Park near Neihart. Fidani is Malmstrom’s newest command chief and assumed the position in August. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)
Chief Master Sgt. Frank Fidani, 341st Missile Wing command chief, tests crusted chicken with pumpkin during the 3rd Quarter Warrior Chef Competition at the Elkhorn Dining Facility on Oct. 15. Fidani, along with Chief Master Sgt. Brian Hornback, Air Force Global Strike Command command chief, and Command Sgt. Major Patrick Alston, U.S. Strategic Command senior enlisted leader, were the three judges of the competition. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Katrina Heikkinen)
by Airman 1st Class Katrina Heikkinen
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
10/26/2012 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- This past August, a new leader joined Team Malmstrom to serve as the 341st Missile Wing command chief. Bringing with him a positive attitude to lead the enlisted members of Wing One, Chief Master Sgt. Frank Fidani couldn't be more excited to call Malmstrom Air Force Base his new home.
"I'm incredibly excited to be here," Fidani said. "In the short two months that I've been on the installation, I've been really impressed with the way we maintain, support and defend this great wing, and that is through the hard work and dedication of the Airmen."
Although serving as a command chief may be a new role for him, Fidani brings years of experience in diverse careers and is no stranger to the responsibilities of leadership positions. Prior to his arrival, Fidani served as the senior enlisted leader for U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg, AFB, Calif., from August 2010 to July 2012.
"I enjoyed that position [senior enlisted leader] and the things I was doing," Fidani said. "But I'm ready to focus on the people. I've been focusing on programs and processes for a long time. I think that if my intention is to focus on the people - which it is - I can make the greatest impact in my position."
Fidani enlisted in the Air Force in 1988 and gained 11 years of leadership experience as a security forces member. It wasn't until he was stationed at Moron Air Base, Spain, as the 496th Air Base Squadron NCO in charge, that he discovered the operations side of the Air Force.
"When I made technical sergeant I was identified as an overage in my career field, so they gave me some choices," Fidani said. "It just so happened that at that time a brand new space surveillance system was built in Moron. After talking with the superintendant of satellite operations, I thought if anyone can talk about their career field for two hours with nothing but good things to say, that's the career field I want to be in."
From security forces to satellite operations, Fidani's exposure to different careers broadened his perspective and molded him into the leader he is today.
"Both of those career fields had their plusses and minuses; it was two different worlds," Fidani said. "Working in operations exposed me to a different side of the Air Force. I really loved the level and scope of responsibility I had in both jobs. I think that being in the two different careers gave me a breath of exposure to what the Air Force is all about. I got to experience both of those worlds to my betterment."
In his 24 years as an active-duty member, including earning the title of chief master sergeant, two children and a chance to travel the world, Fidani still made time to pursue education. He was a John Levitow and Military Citizenship honor graduate at Airman Leadership School in 1991; in 2004 he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer systems management at Colorado Christian University as an honor graduate; and in 2006 he earned a Master of Arts degree in management and leadership through Webster University.
"I made education a priority in my life," Fidani said. "It was tough, because it involved a lot of sacrifices. It took time away from my family, my wife and my children. But I made it a priority because I knew that I could be a better Airman for the Air Force with an education. Those degrees have helped me be the leader I am today - especially in this position as command chief. Leadership for me wasn't an innate quality that I possessed; I had to go into a classroom and learn about it."
Pursing education may be a hobby for Fidani, but one thing he'd rather do above all other things is spend time with his family. His wife Ellen, their son Massimo, 9, and daughter, Francesca, 6, are his number one priority.
"Although I loved my assignment in Spain, my favorite assignment was in Colorado, because that was where I got married and had my children. It was absolutely gorgeous being stationed at the base of the Rocky Mountains and being able to snowboard. Here, me and my children will be up on the mountain snowboarding all winter."
As Fidani embarks on his journey as the command chief, he says he has big shoes to fill.
"I think my biggest challenge here will be measuring up to the performance of my predecessors," Fidani said. "We've had a couple of command chief's here that were loved by the community and adored by the Airmen."
Although Fidani says his goals are those of the commander, his focus is the development of the enlisted force at Malmstrom.
"I want Airmen to know that I've walked in their shoes," Fidani said. "I've worn the stripes that they're wearing; I've worked in the jobs their working; I've dealt with the challenges they are facing, and I'm here to make things better."