Reserve NCO turns wrenches, displays leadership
December 6, 2012
TOOELE ARMY DEPOT, Utah (July 20, 2012) -- Sgt. Jonathon Barnitz stands with his hand and forearm resting on the step of a truck's cab, its engine exposed as the diesel engine runs idle.
"Turning wrenches for me is kind of a blood trait, that's my passion," Barnitz said. "Knowing that I'm helping people by doing what I love to do, that's just a bonus."
As he talks, he guides Pvt. Celida Gutierrez through the steps of checking voltage on the Tactical Vehicle's generator, allowing her to complete the task.
Barnitz, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with Bravo Company 158th Base Support Battalion, is taking part in Operation Golden Cargo 2012 which provides opportunities for the noncommissioned officer to work on leadership skills while training junior-enlisted Soldiers and doing the job he loves.
Barnitz's unit was tasked with providing maintenance support to trucking units as they transported ammunition across Utah into Nevada during the two-week exercise. The noncommissioned officer's leadership style during Golden Cargo has already been commended, although he is fairly new to the NCO corps.
"I'm still learning how to be a sergeant, so my goal is to become a better leader," said Barnitz.
His peers see him as an asset to the unit because of the way he deals with the junior-enlisted Soldiers.
"He's a noncommissioned officer that definitely steps up the game. As far as taking care of Soldiers, he is one of the best," said Sgt. Samuel A. Lucero, a mechanic with the 158th.
The Soldiers he works with gravitate towards him because they trust him and know he is knowledgeable, said Lucero.
Barnitz admits at times he struggles with delegating work, because he is passionate about working on the vehicles and learning everything there is to know in his Military Occupation Specialty.
"I've already had a few of the NCOs tell me to slow down and let them do the work," said Barnitz.
To those who know him, it was apparent that Barnitz would grow up to fix broken things professionally.
During his childhood, Barnitz always wanted to know how things worked, so he would take them apart and put them back together. He worked at a bike shop, and when he got a little older he and his dad rebuilt an engine, and also restored a 1972 Chevrolet pick-up truck.
Barnitz, a mechanic during his five years in the National Guard, is currently employed at Pep Boys.
"It's what I wanted to do," said Barnitz. "As far as being a mechanic goes, that's kind of ingrained in me," he added.
While working with his recruiter, Barnitz explained he would not join the Army if he could not be a mechanic. Barnitz got his way, and enjoys the work he does for his unit and his country.
"He's a driving force in the motor pool," confirmed Lucero. "He eats, sleeps and breathes working maintenance."