The heart of the operation: missile alert facility manager

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jaeda Tookes
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
A missile alert facility manager is a special duty not many people know about.

“I found many people do not know what the job as an FM entails,” said Staff Sgt. Tara Kindermann, 490th Missile Squadron facility manager. “There is not an official technical school for the job, so we are trained on-the-job for three tours with another FM.”

The job of an FM is to act as the squadron commander’s representative.

“The FM is also responsible for the upkeep and operational effectiveness of a $6 million facility,” said Master Sgt. Joseph Chastain, 341st Operations Group facility manager superintendent. “They are also a key contributor to the nation’s nuclear war plan by supporting U.S. Strategic Command’s global strike and deterrence missions.”

FMs conduct daily, weekly, quarterly, bi-annually and annual checks of the facility, and are also responsible for any outside maintenance that needs to be done to include mowing, weed-eating and shoveling snow.

“I have learned so much from this job,” said Kindermann. “Before I applied for this position, I was not at all familiar with how to perform maintenance on the equipment.”

Additional responsibilities of an FM include making sure the rooms in the facility have the needed essentials, meals are prepared for members working late, escorting visitors and also mentoring young Airmen and officers new to the military.

“I try to build a rapport with them so they feel comfortable enough to come talk to me,” said Kindermann.

According to 2nd Lt. John Rafie, 490th MS deputy missile combat crew commander, the FM is the heart and soul of the MAF.

“A significant contribution of the morale is related to the facility manager,” said Rafie.

As an FM, according to Kindermann, she feels she directly supports the mission.

“It makes me feel proud I am making a difference,” said Kindermann.

Malmstrom supports the same mission as Minot AFB in North Dakota, and F.E. Warren AFB in Wyoming, according to Chastain.

“Here we have 15 MAFs spread across three tactical squadrons, the 10th, 12th and 490th Missile Squadrons,” said Chastain.

Typically an FM is assigned to one squadron and stays with that particular squadron throughout their time.

“It is possible for FMs to rotate to different MAFs, but unlikely to be rotated to different squadrons,” said Kindermann.

FMs post out four days and have four days off, if the schedule permits.

“Posting out to the MAF seems to be a better fit for family life than being deployed,” said Kindermann.

To be an FM, military members must be a staff sergeant or technical sergeant with a mechanical aptitude score of at least 40.

“I want to encourage our local staff sergeants and technical sergeants to consider applying for this position,” said Chastain. “I am the local hiring point of contact here at Malmstrom.”

To see all the qualifications to become an FM, members can consult the Air Force Special Category Assignments Guide or contact Chastain with any questions at 731-4035.

“Anyone who is interested in becoming an FM can contact me directly if they have any questions about the job, how to apply or the benefits,” said Chastain