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Bluegrass reservists recognize civilian employers

Kentucky civic leaders and employers pause before a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 cargo transport plane from the 123rd Airlift Wing, Louisville, Ky., at Fort Knox, Ky., during "Boss Lift" Aug. 13, 2010.  The event, sponsored by Employers Support of the Guard and Reserve, is designed to foster support and understanding of the duties, training, and military life National Guard and Reserve troops experience. (Photo by Army Spc. Scott Raper)

Kentucky civic leaders and employers pause before a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 cargo transport plane from the 123rd Airlift Wing, Louisville, Ky., at Fort Knox, Ky., during "Boss Lift" Aug. 13, 2010. The event, sponsored by Employers Support of the Guard and Reserve, is designed to foster support and understanding of the duties, training, and military life National Guard and Reserve troops experience. (Photo by Army Spc. Scott Raper)

Master Sgt. Eric Hagen, a loadmaster with the Kentucky Air National Guard 123rd Airlift Wing, Louisville, Ky., discusses flight operations with a Kentucky civic leader during "Boss Lift" Aug. 13, 2010.  The event, sponsored by Employers Support of the Guard and Reserve, is designed to foster support and understanding of the duties, training, and military life National Guard and Reserve troops experience. (Photo by Army Spc. Scott Raper)

Master Sgt. Eric Hagen, a loadmaster with the Kentucky Air National Guard 123rd Airlift Wing, Louisville, Ky., discusses flight operations with a Kentucky civic leader during "Boss Lift" Aug. 13, 2010. The event, sponsored by Employers Support of the Guard and Reserve, is designed to foster support and understanding of the duties, training, and military life National Guard and Reserve troops experience. (Photo by Army Spc. Scott Raper)

FORT KNOX, Ky. -- A group of the Commonwealth's civic leaders were treated to a day of excitement at Fort Knox, Ky., as part of the 2010 Boss Lift sponsored by Employers Support of the Guard and Reserve on August 13.

Service members from the Army, Army and Air National Guard and Marine Corps Reserve gave the civic leaders a taste of what their employees do during a drill weekend or Annual Training.

The day started off with a flight on a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft from the Air Guard Base in Louisville to Ft. Knox.

"People got a kick out of being on the big birds," said retired Army Maj. Gen. Bob Silverthorn, State Chair of the Kentucky Committee, Employer Support of Guard and Reserve. "When civilians get a chance to fly on any of our aircraft, it makes for a very memorable experience."

The civic leaders then boarded a UH-60 Blackhawk for orientation flights over the area. They landed at the Advanced Drivers Course to meet members of the 4th Tank Battalion, 4th Marine Division, where they rode M1-A1 Abrams tanks.

According to General Silverthorn, the challenges employers face with citizen soldiers and airmen gone for multiple deployments make events like the boss flight more critical.

"This gives civilian employers and the military a chance to interact, to understand where each is coming from," said Master Sgt. Eric Hagen, a loadmaster with the 123rd Airlift Wing. "Anytime you get that kind of communication it is great for both sides.

"Employers have a cost inherent in employing deployable servicemembers. But they're proud to be a part of the national security team," he said.

"The purpose of a civic leader/ESGR boss lift is not just to expose them to their service members' operating environment, but also to pay our respect to the sacrifices they make to make it possible for that service member to serve our country."