Boss lift shows employers Guard mission

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Michael Touchette
  • 120th Airlift Wing
More than 40 employers of Montana National Guard Airmen participated in the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Boss Lift at the 120th Airlift Wing here June 4.

"Our job at ESGR is to educate and advocate on behalf of not only the employer, but the Guard and Reserve member as well. If you have an issue with your main street employer we're here for you to come to," said Chris Hindoien, chairman for Montana ESGR. "We can intervene and step in as a neutral party. We can sit down with your boss walk them through some of the issues that they face as an employer."

According to their website, the ESGR is a Department of Defense program that develops and promotes supportive work environments for service members in the reserve components through outreach, recognition and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws, and resolves employment conflicts between the service members and their employers.

"We want happy Guard members to help balance out the valley between the guard, the family and the employer," Hindoien said.

On the agenda for the day were briefings by Montana Air National Guard leadership and an orientation flight aboard one of the unit's C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft. The orientation flight not only gave the employers an insight into what their Guard employees do, but was also beneficial to Guardsmen.

"The ESGR Boss Lift was a good opportunity for us to use as training," said Master Sgt. Joshua Archer, an air transportation craftsman with the 120th AW's small air terminal. "We were able to get approximately 10 drill-status Guardsmen involved in passenger processing. This involved security measures, manifesting them and then escorting them to the aircraft. This was a good training experience for us, as well as a good experience for the bosses to see what the Montana Air Guard does."

While on the flight, employers were treated to aerial views of western Montana.

"After takeoff we went west over Square Butte then over the Bob Marshall, over to the Chinese wall, then continued up to Swan Lake," said Staff Sgt. Ethan Kapp, a loadmaster with the 120th AW. "At that point we opened up the ramp and door so they could get a good visual, then flew over Flathead Lake." 

Kapp said the aircraft returned to Great Falls following the same route.

"They were very, very excited as soon as we said they could take their seatbelts off," said Senior Airman RaeAnn Schmersal, a loadmaster with the 120th AW. "They were all up looking out the windows and they were anxious to get to the flight deck. They were all taking pictures and asking questions."

Hindoien said these type of events work well. When the employers get off the airplane they have grins from ear to ear and also a whole new understanding of what an Air National Guard Airman does. 

"I feel we gave them a first-hand look at what the Montana Air National Guard does and a little taste of our capabilities," Kapp said.