Airmen of the Burgh: Staff Sgt. Gena Bartlett

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Grace Thomson
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Staff Sgt. Gena Bartlett, command chief’s assistant with the 911th Airlift Wing, was part of the 911th Security Forces Squadron before applying for her current position with the wing.  

Bartlett started her career in the Air Force in 2014. She loved working in security forces because it gave her a great hands-on learning experience which she said is how she learns best.

Though she enjoyed her time with security forces, Bartlett jumped at the chance to expand her knowledge. 911th AW Command Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Neitzel needed a new assistant and went searching for a good candidate.

“He sent out a mass email asking for someone that needed or wanted to expand their job, so I thought it was for me,” she said.

Becoming the command chief’s assistant is just one of the opportunities that Bartlett volunteered for. Beginning in July of 2018, Bartlett took on this temporary position. She is slated to return to her role with the 911th SFS at the end of an 18-month period.

“I’m really proud of her,” said Bartlett’s security forces supervisor Tech. Sgt. Angela Montgomery, fire team leader with the 911th SFS. “I can’t wait to work with her some more.”

Montgomery also described Bartlett as a hard worker and someone always willing to volunteer for new opportunities. This description is paralleled by the advice Bartlett gives to incoming Airmen.

“Pay attention to what they say,” said Bartlett, referring to military training instructors at basic military training. “And I know you hear in basic training, ‘don’t volunteer,’ but actually volunteer. It gets you a lot further if you actually volunteer and are engaged in what everyone’s doing.”

This is not only the advice she gives to others, but advice she follows in her life and Air Force career as well. Montgomery used Bartlett’s work leading up to and during the 911th AW’s numbered Air Force change ceremony, a ceremony which not only signified the wing’s move from the 22nd Air Force to the Fourth Air Force but served as the wing’s change of command ceremony, as an example.

“When we did the ceremony, she stepped right up to help,” Montgomery said. “She greeted the distinguished visitors and was extremely professional. She did a great job doing that and helped volunteer to break everything down. There were maybe a handful of us and she is just an incredibly hard worker.”

Bartlett volunteers in her civilian life as well, though she does not do it as much as she would like due to her civilian work schedule as an X-ray technician for Med-Express.  Recently she had the opportunity to volunteer to speak at an elementary school for a female heroes day to speak to the kids. There were other women from a wide array of specialties, including paramedics and firefighters as well as other professions. They spoke about their careers and the different aspects of their jobs.

Being in security forces requires a lot of work outside; they are the first Airmen on base to start checking ID card checks outside during unit training assemblies, which may require a lot of standing out in the rain or snow during Pittsburgh’s winter UTAs.

“I love being outdoors and I think that’s why I love security forces so much because you’re always outdoors,” said Bartlett.

Bartlett said that she loves to fish, hike, ski and much more when she can. She also has two dogs, Rudy and Turbo, that keep her busy and active.

Bartlett will be furthering her education in January 2019 by going back to school to become a CT scan technician. This is just another example of how she lives out the motivation she speaks. The last piece of advice she has for Airmen coming into the Air Force is to just keep moving.

“Just keep moving forward, just keep pushing at it,” said Bartlett. “When you feel like you are stuck in a spot just keep pushing forward, don’t stop and don’t slow down.”