Civilian employers get first-hand look at Kentucky Air Guard missions
By Master Sgt. Philip Speck, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office
/ Published October 12, 2012
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- More than 30 civilian employers flew aboard a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 to Scott Air Force Base, Ill., June 8 as part of program to teach them more about the Air Guard mission.
Called a "Bosslift," the event was designed to show appreciation to the employers of Guardsmen while exposing them to the kinds of missions their employees perform when they leave their civilian jobs and put on an Air Force uniform, according to Philip Miller, an employer support specialist with the Kentucky Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
"The Air National Guard is included in everyday business as an integral part of the U.S. Air Force global mission," Miller noted. "In fact, Air National Guard and Reserve airlift units are running 59 percent of the Air Force's airlift missions around the world. So this Bosslift provided a great opportunity to showcase Kentucky Air Guardsmen and explain to employers how they fit into the U.S. Air Force's big picture. The employers were able to see the importance of the missions being conducted by their traditional Guardsman employees."
Those missions will continue this summer, when more than 90 members of Kentucky's 123rd Airlift Wing and two C-130 aircraft are slated to deploy to an undisclosed air base in Southwest Asia. They will conduct military airlift missions across the U.S. Central Command Area of Operations for approximately four months before returning home.
Participating "bosses" represented a broad range of employers, from Humana and United Parcel Service to WDRB Television, Louisville Gas & Electric and the Al J. Schneider Co. Their day began with a 123rd Airlift Wing mission brief at the Air Guard Base in Louisville, followed by the flight to Scott.
While in Illinois, the employers met with top Air Force officials, received a briefing about how the U.S. Transportation Command and Air Mobility Command perform their missions, and toured the Air Mobility Command Tanker Airlift Control Center. The facility is the nerve center for airlift, aerial refueling and aeromedical evacuation operations across the globe.
John Brown, vice president of Medicare Service Operations at Humana, said he appreciated the perspective he gained from participating in the Bosslift.
"This is my first time behind the scenes at this level," he said. "I usually only see it or hear it through the eyes or the lenses of someone else. But literally being on the aircraft that our Guardsmen are on and seeing how things are run -- that gives me a deeper appreciation for what I normally get as a sound bite on television. It gives me a much deeper perspective and appreciation for everything that goes into the work they do and the service they provide every day."
Joe Kuhn, a power plant manager for Alcoa, described the briefings as eye-opening.
"I had no idea the Guard and reserves were so integral to our daily defense," Kuhn said. "I assumed they were a supplemental force to cover peak demand. The day was very informative, professionally executed and made me feel proud to be a small part of the effort."
ESGR, which co-sponsored the Bosslift with the 123rd Airlift Wing, is a federal agency that works to create a culture of support for National Guard and Reserve members by recognizing outstanding employer support and increasing awareness of laws and policies regarding Guardsmen and Reservists.