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325th Communication Squadron: Unsung Hero

Staff Sgt. John Untz, 325th Communications Squadron radio frequency transmissions systems technician, stands in front of the 325th CS logo in building 817 Feb. 17. Untz was selected to be the 325th CS unsung hero. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin Mullen/Released)

Staff Sgt. John Untz, 325th Communications Squadron radio frequency transmissions systems technician, stands in front of the 325th CS logo in building 817 Feb. 17. Untz was selected to be the 325th CS unsung hero. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin Mullen/Released)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Heroes come in many different forms; from pixelated heroes on little screens, to super heroes on the big screen, or for the 325th Communications Squadron, the heroes behind a computer screen.

The 325th CS sees its hero as Staff Sgt. John Untz. Though he is a radio frequency transmission systems technician, he currently works as part of a new team within the squadron called a Cyber Protection Team.

Untz is a married father of two. As an avid gamer, he has incorporated his love for video games into quality time with his kids. His daughter, only 4, manages to beat both Untz and his wife at Mario Party.

"I am a pretty standard nerd," he said. "I enjoy a lot of retro style games, mostly on the super Nintendo or on computers."

Though he enjoys other games such as "Metal Gear Solid," "Street Fighter" and "Counterstrike," he saves them for late nights when his kids are asleep.

When asked about his personal hero, he took time to reflect on his past.

"To avoid being cliché, I won't say my dad; although he is." he laughed. "As a child, most of my heroes were more fictional and video game characters. Like I said ... a nerdy nerd."

As it stands now, Untz is still an RF transmissions systems technician on paper. Although he still enjoys the job, his passion for computers gives him new love for his current position. Upon joining the service, he wanted a job in the computer realm, but the needs of the Air Force pushed him into RF transmissions.

"I do like my job in RF transmissions, and I am really good at it," said the Cumming, Georgia native. "It has taught me a lot in low-level electronics, which has helped mold some of my hobbies. Right now I am working on about 20 different projects, the main one being a bar-top arcade gaming system."

Untz is currently looking for a chance to retrain into the cyber warfare operations career field. Overall, he was very appreciative for the honor of being part of the CPT.

"I am really excited to be part of this new team," Untz said, his excitement evident. "We are part of only 16 pilot squadrons taking part in 'Communications Squadron Next,' which means we are learning new jobs and how to better protect the base from the inside."

There are jobs within the Air Force that protect the cyber world of the branch, but as part of this new initiative, Untz and his team will be more hands-on with critical components specifically to Tyndall, such as the F-22 Raptor, he said.

"I am very glad that we as the 325th CS were selected," he said. "But also that they looked at a far off career field like mine, knew that I had this skill set and wanted to use it."