#IAMAFCE: Meet Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Hammer

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  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

(Editor's Note: Engineers Week is this month and we wanted to take the opportunity to spotlight member of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center and Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center team doing great things for the Air Force and civil engineering community.)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Meet Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Hammer, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Detachment 3 Emergency Services chief, Hurlburt Field, Florida. 

What are your main responsibilities? 
As the chief enlisted manager and a principle advisor to the Det. 3 commander, I provide expertise on emergency services matters and programs for 250+ Fire, emergency management and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Airmen within Air Force Special Operations Command. I also support other operational planning teams and I’m AFIMSC’s liaison between AFSOC and the center, communicating command priorities as well as AFIMSC reach-back support. 

What is the best thing about your job?  
The flexibility I’m granted in how I approach unique challenges that may arise within the emergency services career fields. Not every problem has a textbook answer and it’s rewarding to develop new strategies or solutions to enhance and advance the force.

As a child, what job did you want to have when you grew up?  
My current career path wasn’t on my radar! I’ve always been inspired by nature, and for the majority of my childhood I wanted to be a marine biologist or something similar.  In college I pursued pre-medicine before eventually enlisting in the Air Force as an EOD technician.

What made you pursue engineering as a career? 
Initially, I planned to move into a federal law enforcement career after completing my time as an EOD technician, but I quickly developed an interest in environmental engineering and remediating unexploded ordnance at formerly used defense sites.  

What is your favorite part about being an Air Force CE?  
Hands down, the people. Whether it’s standing in two feet of mud at the bottom of a trench repairing a broken water line, dragging line into a structural fire while wearing about 50 pounds of turnout gear, reviewing pages upon pages of design documents or clearing a bombing range of dud ordnance and debris, CEs approach their job with a tenacity and attitude that personifies excellence and professionalism.  It’s refreshing to surround yourself with like-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds and skill sets, and see them come together as a united team of engineers to tackle challenges.

Why is your job important to the Air Force mission?  
EOD technicians are a force enabler and multiplier that provide the Air Force with a skilled force capable of mitigating everything from hung munitions and improvised explosive devices, to nuclear weapons in all terrestrial domains of warfare. 

What advice do you have for someone new to the engineering field?   
Keep your options open. You may think you know what you want to do in the engineering field, but an unexpected opportunity may arise that changes your path. I never thought I’d be interested in environmental policy or UXO remediation until I got involved in range clearance planning. Now I’m considering those fields as a second career after I retire from active service.

What motivates and inspires you the most? 
Knowing that what I do makes a difference to others. On a professional level, it doesn’t matter if it’s seeing a supply route open after clearing it of IEDs, watching an Airmen walk on stage to receive an award I helped write a package for, or on a personal level, watching my daughters take on a difficult challenge despite the risk of failure because they know they have their parents’ support.

If there was one engineering marvel or achievement that you could have been a part of, what would that have been and why?  
Is reverse engineering a form of engineering? I’ve always been fascinated with the art of structural implosions. The felling of the Landmark Tower in Fort Worth, Texas, is pretty remarkable to me. Sure, there have been other larger or more creative implosions, but the precision involved in dropping 30 stories of concrete in the middle of a city is amazing.  I can’t even get a 20-foot tree to fall the right direction.