Ronny Vaerten graduated as a Civil Engineer at the Royal Military Academy, and subsequently entered 31 Tiger Squadron in 1988. He quickly became Flight Leader and Flight Commander in the Squadron, and was assigned Operations Officer of 31 Squadron in 1994. After his tour as Ops Officer, he was elected to join the renowned Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, USA, where he graduated from in 1996. Ronny was then involved in a series of test programs for the Belgian Air Force, and played a leading role in the Operational Testing and Evaluation phase of the F-16 MLU. By then a highly qualified F-16 pilot, Ronny became Squadron Commander of the 23rd "Devil" Squadron, neighbours of 31 Squadron at Kleine-Brogel. He led his Squadron through new F-16 MLU challenges such as LANTIRN and Night Vision Goggles, and was the driving factor behind 23 Squadron becoming the highest qualified F-16 MLU Squadron of the Belgian Air Force. After his tour as a Squadron Commander of 23 Squadron, Ronny was briefly given command of the "new" 31 Squadron, which had resulted from the merge of both 23 and 31 Squadron in early 2002.
Later, Ronny was assigned to lead the Air Force's new Airbus A400M project. While doing this, he continued to fly F-16 MLU in "his" 31 Squadron, providing the Squadron with his outstanding expertise and flying skills.
Lt. Col. Vaerten was killed in a mid-air collision with his wingman while performing a High-threat CAS training mission over the Ardennes, Belgium. Both aircraft collided on 9 December 2003 while in the final stage of a simulated attack on a FAC-controlled target.