Civilian employers take flight during ESGR Boss Lift

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Courtney Dotson-Essett
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs

Fighting windy conditions and storms, several employers from around Indiana pushed through typical spring weather and took to the sky for a glimpse into military life.

Forty-two employers throughout the state visited Grissom April 25-26 for an employer orientation aimed at showing them what Reserve Citizen Airmen do when they are away from their civilian jobs.

The 434th Air Refueling Wing was joined by the 122nd Fighter Wing of Ft. Wayne, Ind., and the 181st Intelligence Wing of Terre Haute, Ind., as part of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Boss Lift.

The ESGR is a Department of Defense program established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between reserve component service members and their civilian employers.

“Our main goal is to let civilian employers know that when there employee leaves for the weekend, they’re not just playing around. They’re out here saving America,” said David Hohiemer,” ESGR Bosslift coordinator.

The two-day event kicked off with a tour of Grissom and static displays from its tenant units.

Among some of the displays were a unit from Grissom’s Fire Department, as well as the 434th Civil Engineer Squadron’s explosive ordnance disposal unit.

 Attendees were also able to get up close and personal with a tour of an A-10 Thunderbolt.

After the tours, visitors met in Grissom’s dining hall for social hour, dinner and had a mission briefing from Col. Anne Noel, 434th Air Refueling Wing vice commander.

ESGR state chairman Stephen Williams spoke to the employers about its mission and about federal laws and responsibilities they and their employees have in regards to military service.

“It’s been an amazing experience, “said Jim Winning, an employer with Old National Bank in Terre Haute. “It’s been more enjoyable than I ever thought it would be, and once I get up in the air I’m sure it’ll be even better.”

On day two, the group was given mission briefings over breakfast by Col. Mike Holmes, 181st Intelligence Wing vice commander, and Capt. Aaron Pence, 122nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs Officer.

The highlight of the event came as employers boarded three tankers and took to the skies to witness the aerial refueling of the A-10.

 “I was very impressed,” said Cynthia Klaber, a Martinsville-based employer with the United States Postal Service. “I’m a white knuckle flyer, and I got down in the pod and was able to see the fuel transfer. It was great.”

Klaber’s employee and co-worker is retiring after 30 years of service here at Grissom.  He has been pushing for her to visit Grissom for the last few years but it didn’t work out logistically.

She said she’s glad it finally worked out and that experience went above and beyond her expectations.

That’s music to the ears of the ESGR members who have spent months planning the event.

“It’s a pretty big undertaking,” said Williams. “For us, just having the employers available and seeing all of the planning come into play with no hiccups is great, and it’s excellent for the employers to be able to have that experience.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

Stay connected with the 434th ARW on Facebook and Twitter.