Civilian boss’s deploy from Luke
By Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega Jr., 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 06, 2017
LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Over 60 local civilian employers of citizen airmen from the 944th Fighter Wing visited here Apr. 1 and experienced a “deployment” scenario for Bosses Day 2017.
Bosses Day is designed to provide civilian employers insight into a day in the life of a reservist. This year, bosses experienced first-hand what a reservist would go through preparing to deploy overseas and the necessary preparations involved before-hand.
The guest employers arrived early and were greeted by Col. Kurt Gallegos, 944 FW commander, who welcomed them with opening remarks and a mission brief.
To deliver even more authenticity, the group received duffle bags filled with standard military equipment needed down range for them to inventory. Afterward, the group was given a simulated intelligence brief of the pre-determined overseas location and hazards their Airman would encounter during their deployment.
“The entire day was well organized, very interesting, and informative,” said Don Majors, Discount Tire senior vice president of product marketing and development and 69th Fighter Squadron honorary commander. “If only a larger swath of Americans could see first-hand the dedication and commitment that our men and women in the military put forth for our country.”
Stations were set-up with key personnel from finance, legal, and the Chaplin’s office to give presentations service members would experience during the deployment process.
The bosses were then loaded onto a KC-135, flown by the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, March Air Force Base, California, to observe an air refueling mission.
The group also visited different displays from the various sections within the 944 FW allowing the bosses an opportunity to ask questions about the different unit. Lunch was prepared by the 944th Force Support Squadron in their field kitchen to round out their deployment experience.
“The opportunity to walk through the deployment process, talk with a fighter pilot and some of the medical staff, get up close to the jets that fly over my school every day, then to experience the flight on the cargo plane and the mid-air refueling were all truly amazing experiences,” said Terri Carter, Dysart High School chemistry teacher.
To end the day, the participants gathered for closing comments and presentations of Employer Support Guard and Reserve Patriot Awards.
“My boss was not expecting the award from ESGR with the wing commander at the end of the day,” said Master Sgt. Thomas Kiser, 944th Civil Engineer Squadron heavy equipment NCO-in-charge and McLane Sunwest Inc., driver. “He has been very understanding of my military obligation and now has a better understanding of my role as a reservist. He is also the first boss I have invited to a reserve related function.”
The Patriot Award, given by the ESGR, reflects the efforts made by civilian employers to support Reserve members through a wide range of actions including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence if needed.
“I nominated my boss for this event because of his unwavering support and I knew that this was something he would enjoy,” said Capt. Breck Smith, 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron nurse and orthopedic certified registered nurse at Honorhealth Shea Medical Center Total Joint Center. “He has expressed interest in better understanding what I do in the Air Force and this gave him the prime opportunity to do so. He absolutely enjoyed the event and said that he had an ‘awesome time.’
The objective of the day was to give employers a better understanding of what their Air Force Reserve employees do when they are away from the office serving their military commitment Gallegos explained to the bosses.
“Balancing family, a civilian and a military career is not easy. The support given by a civilian employer is invaluable, if it wasn’t for you all, we could not do our job” said Gallegos. “I truly believe we accomplished that goal here today.”