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Missile alert facility managers keep MAFs running

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jason Wiese
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
This is the first of a four-part series depicting the everyday life at a missile alert facility.

Facility managers of missile alert facilities play a key role in nuclear surety, by acting as stewards of facilities vital to missile operations.

Missile alert facility managers are responsible for the equipment located in the topside areas of the MAFs to which they are assigned. Upon arriving at their assigned MAFs, FMs perform a walkthrough of the facilities with the FM they are relieving, said Tech. Sgt. Kim Elliot, 319th Missile Squadron facility manager.

There is a lot of equipment to be checked: various tools, heavy machinery, building fixtures, furniture, exercise equipment and water systems to name a few, and FMs are responsible for the upkeep and inventory of all of it, as well as the facility and surrounding areas, Elliot said.

FMs spend their days on-site acting as custodians of the equipment, groundskeepers, supervisors to junior enlisted Airmen, and emergency leaders, she said.

The water systems are especially important because the isolated MAFs always have a reserve of water in case of fires. In case of emergencies like fires or severe weather affecting the MAFs upstairs, FMs are tasked with directing personnel and responding appropriately, she explained.

"We're in charge of everything that happens topside while the crew is downstairs," said Staff Sgt. Shane Scantling, 319th MS FM.

As ranking enlisted members at each MAF, FMs mentor and supervise missile chefs and security forces, Scantling added.

As a volunteer assignment, the FM position attracts individuals who are willing to be leaders and tackle a heavy workload, Scantling said.

"You get to be your own boss," he explained.

It is up to individual FMs to do the job well or perform poorly, and they have to hold themselves accountable and motivate themselves, Scantling said.

Luckily, the nature of the 90th Missile Wing's nuclear deterrence mission helps FMs stay motivated, Elliot said.

"The importance of the job makes it worth it," she said. "I like all of it."

"We have outstanding FMs," said Lt. Col. Catherine Barrington, 319th MS commander. "Our MAFs are some of the best because of what they do."