All-in-one: Airman, father, autocross racer

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tristan Truesdell
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
Airmen who work in services experience numerous job positions during their career. From lodging and restaurants to program management, their career field allows them to become a jack of all trades.

Staff Sgt. Juan Cimental, 341st Force Support Squadron sports program manager, has been stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base for nearly eight years. He started off at the dining facility, moved to the fitness center and is now responsible for maintaining and setting up sporting events on base.

“I’m in charge of all intramural sports here: basketball, flag football, volleyball and softball,” said Cimental. “I interact with different units, representatives, teams and thus end up talking to hundreds of different people throughout the year.”

One of his duties includes maintaining the playing fields for each event by removing any potential hazards.

Repairing these hazards include filling holes, checking if the grounds are too hard or soft for play and placing markers for the upcoming game.

“I head to the fields early before games start,” said Cimental. “I’ll inspect the field for hazards and set it up for play.”

Before he became a sports program manager, he worked at the Elkhorn dining facility.

“I’ve spent most of my career over at the DFAC,” said Cimental. “It’s my bread and butter and I’ve always loved the food part of services. Dealing with customers, being in customer service….everyone wants to eat. They’ll come in hangry but once they’re fed, they’re happy.”

Regardless of where he moves, Cimental makes the most of his experiences and benefits from all of them.

“The people I work with or for make my job memorable,” he said. “From the DFAC to out here with sports, I’ve met so many people. When I’m off-base I’m greeted by so many people I’ve met because of my job.

“I get to meet different people from different jobs,” he continued. “It’s a great networking opportunity and now I have connections in every unit.”

Outside of uniform, Cimental has a family waiting for him at home.

“I’ve got a 14-month-old, a 9-year-old and my wife at home,” said Cimental. “I work night shifts and sometimes I won’t see them as much, but even then they come out to my games to see me and have fun.

“With Montana snowing for nine months of the year, we take advantage of the sun when we have it,” he added.

During his free time, Cimental takes his children to parks and attends events with a local autocross and rallycross organization.

Autocross is a pavement motorsport where vehicles weave on a track and through obstacles at high speeds. Rallycross is similar, but operates on dirt, mud, snow or ice.

“Two years ago, a friend of mine invited me to check out a race,” said Cimental. “I thought he was talking about some NASCAR event, so I brought my oldest with me.

“When I got out there, I saw the track and how people were driving on it - it was insane,” he continued. “I jumped in on ride-alongs and I met people who indulged me on what it was about. I decided I had to get my own car and participate, after that.”

These motorsport events allow drivers to push their vehicle to the limit and learn how the vehicle functions under various conditions.

In the state of Montana, there are several potential driving hazards within a few miles of each other, such as wildlife, road debris, ice, flooding and more.

“These events have allowed me to learn how my car handles and how it reacts to specific motions,” said Cimental. “Whether the ground is wet or dry or you’re sliding around on the track, you’re learning how to control your vehicle when you lose traction if it happens off-track.”

According to Cimental, his experience with both motorsport events has allowed him to become a more confident and safe driver, regardless of the weather in Montana.

Though he has enjoyed his time in Montana, Cimental looks forward to his next chapter, wherever that takes him.

“A change, career-wise, would be great,” said Cimental. “I want to spend as much time with my family and involve them in anything I can. Be it autocross, skateboarding, or anything outside…they’re getting older in a blink of an eye.”