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Employers Support the Guard and Reserve…and learned how

The 104th Fighter Wing and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve hosted 20 employers to Tyndall Air Force Base to see the unit participate in WESP April 14-16.  The employers represented Pratt and Whitney, Yankee Candle, Hartford University, Holyoke Community College, Western New England University, Tell Tool, Columbia Gas of Mass., Holyoke Fire Dept., Mass. State Police, BBL Construction, Marriot International, Burke GMC, Stran Technologies, Pascale Construction, and YOU Inc.  During their tour they learned firsthand the importance of the Guard mission and how the reserve components are integrated tightly into the active duty mission. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Melanie Casineau, 104 FW/PA)

Mr. Dan Wilson, representing the BBL construction company, observes a midair refueling of a C-17 Globemaster while participating in an ESGR Bosslift to Tyndall AFB Fla. on April 14, 2011. Twenty Employers participated in this event, representing Pratt and Whitney, Yankee Candle, Hartford University, Holyoke Community College, Western New England University, Tell Tool, Columbia Gas of Mass., Holyoke Fire Dept., Mass. State Police, BBL Construction, Marriot International, Burke GMC, Stran Technologies, Pascale Construction, and YOU Inc. During their tour they learned firsthand the importance of the Guard mission and how the reserve components are integrated tightly into the active duty mission. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Melanie Casineau, 104 FW/PA)

The 104th Fighter Wing and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve hosted 20 employers to Tyndall Air Force Base to see the unit participate in WESP April 14-16.  The employers represented Pratt and Whitney, Yankee Candle, Hartford University, Holyoke Community College, Western New England University, Tell Tool, Columbia Gas of Mass., Holyoke Fire Dept., Mass. State Police, BBL Construction, Marriot International, Burke GMC, Stran Technologies, Pascale Construction, and YOU Inc.  During their tour they learned firsthand the importance of the Guard mission and how the reserve components are integrated tightly into the active duty mission. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Melanie Casineau, 104 FW/PA)

The 104th Fighter Wing and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve hosted 20 employers to Tyndall Air Force Base to see the unit participate in WESP April 14-16. The employers represented Pratt and Whitney, Yankee Candle, Hartford University, Holyoke Community College, Western New England University, Tell Tool, Columbia Gas of Mass., Holyoke Fire Dept., Mass. State Police, BBL Construction, Marriot International, Burke GMC, Stran Technologies, Pascale Construction, and YOU Inc. During their tour they learned firsthand the importance of the Guard mission and how the reserve components are integrated tightly into the active duty mission. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Melanie Casineau, 104 FW/PA)

(Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.) -- On Thursday, April 14th the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) hosted 20 employers during a 'Boss-lift' to Tyndall, AFB Fla. These employers are from various companies that have military employees. They participated in this event to learn more about what the Guard, specifically the104th Fighter Wings mission as well as the ways the Mass. National Guard also supports the community. The Bosslift is focused on education as well as helping employers understand how they can benefit from having a military employees within their company, and what they can do to better support those employees.

The Bosslift highlighted many aspects of the Guard's mission. They employers traveled down to Tyndall aboard a Pennsylvania Air National Guard KC-135, and watched a mid-air refueling mission. Once they landed, they watched the 104th Fighter Wing launch for a combat exercise against F-22s and F-16s. They were able to watch a mission via the Air Combat Maneuver Instrumentation (ACMI) pod. In addition, they toured the Exercise SILVER FLAG location where they learned about the Red Horse Squadrons and Explosive Ordnance Disposal's mission and the role the Guard plays in the Air Operations Center.

During their time at Tyndall, AFB, the employees were asked to sign a Statement of Support, a program designed to gain and maintain employer support through having a the employers sign a ceremonial charter, indicating they do support their military employees. By signing the statement the employers are recognizing, honoring and enforcing the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). "This program is the ESGR's a effort to gain and maintain employer support", explain Earl Bonett, Ombudsman Director for Massachusetts ESGR. "By signing the statement of support the employers promise to continue to support service members and their families during peacetime as well as wartime."

During the Commanders dinner that was held on the first night of the trip, Earl Bonett asked Anthony L. Cignoli, President of A.L. Cignoli Company, to sign the Statement of Support. When asked why he signed the statement he said, "I want current and future employees to know that they are supported by me (the company) in what they do for the military." He wanted them to know that they would have a good company to work for while they are working for the military as well.

Since ESGR started after the Vietnam War in 1974, they have been an critical part of keeping the guard and reserves an integral part of the military construct; informing the civilian employers of their importance and how important their continual support is. In reality the nation's Reserve components (total Guard and Reserve forces from all branches of the military) comprise approximately 48 percent of our total available military manpower. It is because of this that ESGR is now an official Department of Defense agency that seeks to develop and promote a culture in which all American employers support and value the military service of their employees.