Two to four times a year, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve hosts a very special airlift – a Bosslift to be exact – to help educate employers of National Guardsmen and Reservists about what their employees do on those weekends and deployments when they need time off from work.
The Bosslift program, in short, is intended to give employers a taste of military life.
Fort Rucker, Ala., was the destination of the most recent Bosslift that transported 10 Colorado employers in an Arkansas National Guard C-26 Metroliner March 10-12. Bosses of both Colorado Army and Air National Guardsmen learned about unmanned aircraft systems and underwater egress, shot simulated M-16 rifles, witnessed an aerial gunnery display and watched Soldiers maneuver in a military operation in urban terrain site. Other activities included artillery training, time spent in an OH-58 Kiowa helicopter simulator, and a night vision device lab where employers tried on night vision goggles in a darkened room. The final stop was a tour of the aviation life support equipment facility.
“I think it's very useful information and the very best tool as possible in informing Colorado's employers,” said Chuck Winters, an employer on of an Army Reservist who participated in the Bosslift.
“I thought being in the Kiowa simulator was particularly exciting,” said Gerald O’Nan, an employer on the trip with the U.S. Department of Interior. “The night vision was also very interesting, and walking through the mock-up Iraqi or Afghan village were both stellar experiences.”
Kathleen Dorram, of the Colorado ESGR, said approximately half of ESGR’s budget funds Bosslifts every year and feedback from the program has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The employers said it’s a very worthwhile trip and that they never realized what their (employee) servicemember did,” she said. “It definitely connects the dots as to why they’re gone for two weeks for AT (annual training), what they do on the weekends and why they come back to work a little bit tired.”
Established in 1972, ESGR is a Department of Defense agency that seeks to promote a culture in which all American employers support and value the military service of their employees. The organization works with Reserve component members and their civilian employers to resolve conflicts that arise from an employee’s military commitment.“Employer support is crucial to the National Guard and Reserves,” Dorram said. “Today, employers have a lot of challenges and are forced to make sacrifices.”