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, East Granby, Connecticut, arriving early on Oct. 28th, 2014. The day started over coffee and donuts, when participants were briefed by 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 what they as employers do.
"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 then escorted to the hangar where they got an up close and personal look at one of the C-130H Hercules aircraft the Flying Yankees have recently acquired. Civilian employers where able to sit at the controls of the aircraft and walk around the cargo area where Airmen were available to answer any questions.
After spending time with the C-130H, the group was then transported to the Army Aviation Support Facility, home of the 169th Aviation Regiment where they got the opportunity 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 was then brought to the hangar where they 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 (MRE) 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. They were then lifted to Southbridge airfield to conduct a counter clockwise loop. The aircraft's final practice approach was at Pittsfield Airfield; eventually it was piloted back to the Bradley Air National Guard Base where the participants vehicles were parked.
"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.
"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
For more information about ESGR and how you can be involved, please visit: www.esgr.mil