40th HS flight engineer passionate about job

  • Published
  • By Airman Cortney Paxton
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
One of the most prominent, and well-known, assets on Malmstrom Air Force Base is the UH-1N Huey helicopters seen filling Montana's Big Sky; one of the lesser-known assets is the people that operate these highly recognized aircraft.

Staff Sgt. Michael Frank, a flight engineer with the 40th Helicopter Squadron, has been a part of the successful mission of Malmstrom's helicopters for 5 ½ years. His work, both on the ground and in the air, is nothing short of important.

"In the air I'm an evaluator engineer and instructor engineer," Frank said. "I evaluate people on their jobs when they're flying and then I can also instruct people on their jobs; when we get a brand new person I'm qualified to teach them their job. In the office, I'm pretty much the jack-of-all-trades. They just moved me to the NCOIC of the commander support staff, so I'm just now getting into the paperwork side of everything."

Frank was not only chosen to be in charge of the CSS, he was also chosen to represent Team Malmstrom during the Global Strike Challenge competition; his performance, alongside other members on base, will be used in determining the best of the best throughout Global Strike Command. His motivation and positive attitude are what made him a good pick for the competition.

"I'd say Frank's motivation and kind of 'get it done' focus is something that draws in a lot of people in a very positive way," said Capt. Matthew Sutliff, 40th HS UH-1N Huey pilot. "He's got a way of accomplishing hard tasks and getting other people on board while keeping morale really high."

To a flight engineer, hard tasks are common and can come in various ways. Recently, Frank has played a role in three consecutive search-and-rescue missions, which require dedication, focus and sustained morale within the aircraft crew.

"[Rescue's] are few and far between," Frank said. "It's really rare that we get three in a row because we don't get them that often. We're the last on the list to get called to help in a rescue, but you're excited when you get the call."

Frank has been involved in "around 10" search-and-rescue missions and plans on helping out on as many as he can; his goal is to "keep flying as long as I can keep flying."

This Ashland, Ohio, native has reached his main career goal of becoming an evaluator engineer but would like to retire, at least as a master sergeant, after serving 20 years in the Air Force. He is also working on earning his Community College of the Air Force degree in aviation management, which he is only two classes away from completing.

Aside from his career, Frank spends his time in a garage working on vehicles. His current project is a 1981 Honda 750 motorcycle; when he's not working on that he's under the hood of his 2001 Dodge Dakota. He also spends a lot of his time with his 2 year-old son, Dakota.

"I'm a big family man," he said. "I love spending time with my son."

Time is a valuable resource for all Airmen; it's a resource that Frank selflessly uses to advance his service to this country.

"Just watching Frank develop over the past years, he's really matured into a distinguished leader; somebody who can expand into areas and can be left to self seek knowledge and improvement on his own without any direction from other people," Sutliff said. "He strengthens himself in numerous ways and then he takes those lessons and strengths and he generates that into everybody else around him so that way he kind of makes the whole squadron stronger. In a lot of situations, he's kind of been the glue that holds the team together."