Leading the Future

Senior Master Sergeant Ronald Bartsch, 90th Communications Squadron senior enlisted leader, poses for a photo Oct. 27, 2021 on F.E. Warren Air Force base, Wyoming. Bartsch says his purpose is to help every Airmen he can reach their own success. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman Sarah Post)

Bartsch has a vivid memory of the day he realized he wanted to join the military. When he was four years old, he was living at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, with his family. One morning at daycare he saw military members running around in uniform, surrounded by the orange haze of the morning fog mixed with the glow of the street lights. He saw the red and white checkered water tower off in the distance as he looked around, taking in the feel of the humidity in the fog. It was at that moment that he was filled with a sense of purpose to join the military.

“I saw it and I just had this feeling,” said Bartsch. “It was just such a cool thing to see and I was just like: ‘this is what I want to do when I grow up’.”

Bartsch joined the Air Force 16 years later, at 20 years old. Half of his 23 years in the military he has spent working in communications in joint special operations with the other branches of the military. He also learned all 17 Air Force specialties in communications, and is now a senior enlisted leader for the communications squadron here.

Bartsch went through intense training to become a direct support operator in joint operations. Training included specific coms training, combat training, airborne school, advanced weapons school, and high-risk SERE training. As a direct support operator, Bartsch was out in the field providing communications support on the ground. Bartsch also worked in ISR communication support, where he tested and evaluated communications on different aircraft. He also supplied the aircraft with networks and had to know how different aircrafts effected different kinds of comms.

“On a C-130, the way the prop spins it actually washes out certain frequencies,” said Bartsch. “That’s not written down anywhere, you just have to know stuff like that.”

Now, Bartsch is a senior enlisted leader here and his main focus is helping anyone he can. He works every day to help and lead not only the people around him, but also airmen outside his squadron. He believes that everyone should pull people toward success with them, at the same time as pushing those above them further.

“What excites me about being a leader and making my way up is, the higher you go the more people you affect positively,” said Bartsch.

Bartsch would like to stay in the Air Force as long as he can, and help people every step of the way. Along the way Bartsch says he will mentor, care, love and discipline all the airmen he can.

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