Missile Maintainer proudly serves while looking to future

Senior Airman Karlis Hardesty, 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron electromechanical team field runner, poses for a photo near the maintenance bay July 18, 2019, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Senior Airman Karlis Hardesty, 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron electromechanical team field runner, poses for a photo near the maintenance bay July 18, 2019, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Hardesty is from Jacksonville, North Carolina, and has been stationed at Malmstrom for almost three years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Brosam)

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. --

Senior Airman Karlis Hardesty, a 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron electromechanical team field runner, has been stationed at Malmstrom for almost three years.

In that time, Hardesty, who hails from Jacksonville, North Carolina, made his way from back shops in the maintenance building to running the fields, maintaining the base’s intercontinental ballistic missiles and ensuring the sites operate as they should.

“My team and I work on inner and outer zone security, the cooling system of the missile, troubleshooting and servicing batteries in the field,” Hardesty said. “Basically, we work on everything that deals with the electrical for the weapon system.”

Hardesty comes from a military lineage. His father served in the Army, both grandfathers were Marines, his wife’s mother served in the Navy and her great-grandfather was also a Marine.

After attending a semester of college and struggling to make ends meet, Hardesty decided he had to find something better.

“I thought I was going to be the first generation to get a degree and not join the military,” he said, “but I saw the benefits of the military and I had to join.”

Hardesty proudly serves in the maintenance squadron, contributing to the Air Force mission and enjoying being a part of the maintenance family.

“We have good leadership who really take care of us,” Hardesty said. “It gets cold here and the drives are long, but you really get to know your team and team chiefs and make those bonds.”

While balancing work and family, Hardesty is continuing his degree in healthcare administration with an interest in commissioning one day.

“As of right now, I am planning to stay in and I would like to commission,” Hardesty said. “With this job you only really have three bases to go to, so I want to broaden my horizons.

“You can’t deploy unless you really volunteer, and they need us here for the mission,” he continued. “So I want to deploy and see what the big Air Force has to offer.”

Outside of work, Hardesty enjoys spending time with his wife and newborn daughter. He also enjoys boxing at a local gym but understands family and the Air Force are top priority.

“I started boxing before I enlisted into the Air Force,” Hardesty said. “I box a lot and try to compete, but having a kid and this job, the mission comes first.”