Employers Gain Insight
By Capt. Matthew Mutti, Wing Executive Staff Officer, 104th FW
/ Published September 13, 2008
BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Massachusetts -- It's all been said before, "the National Guard could not perform its mission without the traditional members, and they could not be here without the support of their full-time employers." It has been said time in time again, because it is true. We can never loose sight of the one aspect of the Guard that makes us so critical to the fight, is our value; not just in response but also in cost and expertise.
An organization called ESGR was founded 28 years ago to solicit and improve "Employers Support of the Guard and Reserve." Their mission is to gain and maintain employer support for Guard and Reserve service by recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of the law, and resolving conflicts through mediation.
Friday, August 22nd, 50 employers of Guard or Reserve members came to Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield to learn first-hand what we do, and why their support is so crucial. The participating agencies included municipal fire and police departments, small businesses such as Tiny & Sons Auto Glass and larger corporations like Hamilton Sundstrand.
These employers walked around the base and learned about the F-15, our mission sets, and the different career fields needed to support our new homeland defense mission.
"Our nation would not be able to fly, fight and win, without the support you have given our members," said Col John Gwosch, 104th Maintenance Group Commander, as he addressed the group. "Our mission would be nearly impossible to perform if you did not sacrifice so that your employees, our guardsman and women, could not come to Barnes to do their military jobs."
After the tour of the air base, the employers were then introduced to the total force of the Massachusetts Guard and spent a few hours with the Army Aviation Support Facility #2, and witnessed the hard work that goes into flying helicopters for local and national missions.
The tour culminated with an ESGR orientation flight around the local area in a Blackhawk helicopter, which allowed the different agencies to be immersed with an actual operational aircraft and the work necessary for a safe and successful launch.
One of the true benefits to this ESGR employer orientation visit was it allowed the collocated unit's to demonstrate its interdependence and cooperation with each other. The employers now have a better understanding of what makes the guard such a valuable asset to the State and the Nation as stated in an e-mail from Mr. Francis Cicio, a Massachusetts Court Officer, "The day certainly gave me a much better appreciation for those great guys who protect our country... (this experience) makes it much more understandable to deal with the missing employee."