Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Civilian employers tour Army and Air National Guard facilities

by Senior Airman Emmanuel Santiago
103rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs

11/20/2014 - BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE - East Granby, Conn. -- Civilian employers from around the state gathered to participate in an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve "bosslift" at Bradley Air National Guard Base, Connecticut, arriving early on Oct. 28th, 2014.

The day started with coffee and donuts followed by a briefing from Col. Fred Miclon, vice commander of the 103rd Airlift Wing, about the mission of the Flying Yankees and then by the Connecticut ESGR committee about the importance of civilian employers to the ANG.

"I just wanted to say thank you," said Ted Graziani, state chair for the Connecticut ESGR committee. "Each and every one of you puts in the time and effort to abide by USERRA and it really shows through your commitment to your military employees."

USERRA, also known as the uniformed services employment and reemployment rights act, is a federal law that outlines rights and responsibilities for both military members and employers regarding employment and being called up to serve in a military capacity.

Following the briefing, the group was escorted to the hangar where they got an up close and personal look at one of the recently acquired C-130H Hercules aircraft.  The tour included sitting at the controls of the aircraft and walk through the cargo area.

Available throughout the C130H were Airmen to answer any question from the group.

The group was then transported to the Army Aviation Support Facility, home of the 169th Aviation Regiment to experience the Army side of the Connecticut National Guard.

Upon arrival the group was briefed by Sgt. Major Tony Savino on the daily operations of the Army Guard. The group received tours of the CH-47 Chinook, and the UH-60 Blackhawk. Again, the civilian employers got a chance to sit at the controls of these aircraft and ask any questions they may have had.

Following the tours, participants were treated to a real military experience when each member of the group was given a meal ready to eat for lunch. MREs are prepackaged food intended for military personnel working in the field.

Once the group was fed they made their way to the helipad where they boarded a UH-60 Blackhawk piloted by Capt. Rick LaGrega, commander, headquarters and headquarters company 1/169th Aviation Regiment, general support aviation battalion and lifted to Southbridge airfield to conduct a counter clockwise loop.

"As a Soldier and a company commander, I cannot emphasize enough how vital the support of employers is to the Connecticut National Guard," said LaGrega

After the practice approach at Pittsfield Airfield; the Blackhawk flew back to Bradley ANG to return the group to their parked vehicles.

"The bosslift experience was absolutely fantastic... my team from UTAS-Danbury Defense Systems were extremely impressed with the tours, presentations, and the history lesson," said David Imbrogno, general manager of defense systems, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and space systems, United Technologies Corporation, aerospace systems.

ESGR regularly supports events like this for civilian employers with the goal providing them with a better understanding and mutual respect of military members and their obligations.

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