An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

HomeNewsArticle Display

Vandenberg NCO serves homeland while serving country

Staff Sgt. Radoslaw Ciesielski, the 30th Space Wing and 14th Air Force building manager, translates for Col. Michael Fortney, 30th Space Wing Vice Commander, during an interaction with a Polish senator. Vandenberg officials host three senators of the Republic of Poland who visited the base on June 29 as part of the U.S. State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Robert Lewis)

Staff Sgt. Radoslaw Ciesielski, the 30th Space Wing and 14th Air Force building manager, translates for Col. Michael Fortney, 30th Space Wing Vice Commander, during an interaction with a Polish senator. Vandenberg officials host three senators of the Republic of Poland who visited the base on June 29 as part of the U.S. State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Robert Lewis)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- When three Polish senators came to Vandenberg they needed a translator. They wouldn't have been able to discuss Vandenberg's Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program with 30th Space Wing leadership without the help of Staff Sgt. Radoslaw Ciesielski.

Sergeant Ciesielski, a heating, ventilation and air conditioning craftsman, not only serves Vandenberg as the NCOIC of facility maintenance and operations for the 30th Space Wing and 14th Air Force headquarters building, but also as a Polish translator for the Air Force.

Born in Warsaw, Poland, Sergeant Ciesielski lived in Europe until immigrating to Ohio with his parents when he was 17 years old. Since joining the Air Force, he has been selected more than 15 times throughout his seven-year Air Force career to serve as a Polish translator.

One of those times sent him back to his homeland.

"An all expenses paid trip back to Poland," Sergeant Ciesielski said.

On that assignment, Sergeant Ciesielski translated polish to English for 160 Americans taking part in the 2003 North Atlantic Treaty Organization Air Meet, The largest NATO exercise involving air forces from Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Sergeant Ciesielski not only appreciates the opportunity to visit his homeland and interact with fellow Poles, but also his contribution to the military as a representative for Polish and American relations.

"The Air Force has allowed me the opportunity to help multi-national operations," he said. "I am honored to serve my country in this capacity."

Sergeant Ciesielski worked with the Air Force as a translator long before being assigned to Vandenberg.

He also served as a liaison between the Air Force and the Polish military in 2003 for operational and logistic requirements which led to the successful installation of $30 million in communication equipment for 17 air missions at Aviano Air Base, Italy, which led directly to him being awarded an Air Force Achievement Medal.

Retired Col. William Becker, former 31st Operations Group Commander, stated in the paperwork explanation for the Air Force Achievement Medal received by Sergeant Ciesielski, that his rapport with the Polish military helped streamline the delivery of three logistical parts needed to repair a critical generator and radar, saving over $2,000 in customs fees and 26 hours of critical mission time.

30th Space Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Cari Kent shares Colonel Becker's outlook on the Polish translator for Vandenberg.

"I was so proud of him and very impressed with his abilities," Chief Kent said. "It was incredible watching and listening to Sergeant Ciesielski translate. I thought it was going to be difficult to communicate via a translator, but I enjoyed the interaction immensely."

Sergeant Ciesielski will continue to serve Vandenberg  in this capacity as other Polish dignitaries visit the base.