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ESGR Appreciation Day

104th Fighter Wing, Westfield, Mass. -- Approximately 34 employers attended the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Appreciation Day hosted by the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base on Friday, May 16. 

ESGR Appreciation Day allows employees of airmen in the Guard and Reserve to visit the base and witness what their military employees do during Unit Training Assemblies one weekend a month, as well as during deployments.

Mr. Earl Bonett, ESGR Chairman, and Mr. Bill Hebert, ESGR Support Technician, facilitated the six hour event.  

The day began at 8:00 a.m. with refreshments presented by the Pioneer Valley USO, followed by a welcome briefing by Col. Peter Green, 104th Maintenance Group Commander.  The briefing explained the unit's proud heritage with a six minute video, showed the command structure of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, the economic impact the unit has in the local area, our role during federal and state activations, some
F-15 statistics, and concluded with a question and answer session.
After the briefing visitors boarded a bus and drove out to witness the F-15 Eagles take off for their morning training missions.  The group, standing in the rain, witnessed eight F-15's take off with afterburners flaring.

The group then visited the Security Forces Squadron where they were given the opportunity to shoot an M-16 rifle within the indoor firing range simulator.  They also fired actual simulation rounds outdoors, and were shown a wide range of guns that security had on display for them to handle and ask questions.

The visitors were then brought to the Weapons Hangar where they were given a walk around tour of the F-15 aircraft.  Maj. Matthew Mutti gave the tour, explaining different parts of the jet and its capabilities.  Staff Sgt. Garrett Moulton discussed the various missiles that the F-15 carries and their capabilities.  Before lunch a group photo was then taken in front of aircraft #125.

After eating lunch in the dining facility, the tour group was brought over to the Army Aviation Support Facility #2 where Lt. Col. Jonas Patruno welcomed them with his own welcome brief, which was followed by a search and rescue demonstration using the Blackhawk helicopter.  The demonstration showed the aerial casualty rescue procedures that the Army unit employs, and was followed by an up-close look at the Blackhawk helicopters located within the Army hangar.

"The visit was a very informative and educational experience," said Sarah Pashe, who works at Mass. Mutual in the Diversity & Inclusion/Human Resources office.  Everyone walked away knowing a little more about what their employees do on base, as well as about the National Guard and the military in general.  It was a very successful event that received a lot of positive feedback from the attendees.