KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
The 403rd Wing hosted 15 employers of Air Force reservists from across the nation as part of the Air Force Reserve Command Employer Appreciation Day May 20.
Citizen Airmen nominated their employers for the event, which gave the employers the opportunity to learn about the missions of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Air Force Reserve and 403rd Wing. ESGR is a Department of Defense organization established to recognize outstanding employer support, increase awareness of the law, and resolve conflicts between reservists and employers through mediation.
“We thank you as employers for enabling our members to serve and for your continued support,” said Maj. Gen. Stayce D. Harris, 22nd Air Force commander who represented Lt. Gen. James J.J. Jackson, commander, AFRC. She welcomed the employers on his behalf and then provided a mission brief highlighting the diverse capabilities for the Air Force Reserve.
Employer support is crucial to Reserve service, said Col. Frank L. Amodeo, 403rd Wing commander, during his mission brief about the 403rd Wing.
“We can’t do it without your support,” he said, adding that reservists come from 29 states to serve in the wing.
The 403rd Wing is an Air Force Reserve tenant unit at Keesler that provides weather reconnaissance in support of the Department of Commerce, as well as tactical airlift to transport supplies, equipment and personnel in theaters of operation. During the tour of Keesler, the employers learned about the capabilities of the WC-130J and C-130J, the 41st Aerial Port Squadron, and 81st Medical Group and Keesler Medical Center.
The 403rd Wing is one of many Reserve and National Guard units that in total comprise 38 percent of the nation’s available military manpower, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. This means reservists and guardsmen spend more time away from the workplace defending the nation and training to maintain their mission readiness, said Amodeo.
Jack Wallace, state chairman of the Mississippi ESGR explained that Employer Appreciation Day is one program that assists in creating awareness of reservists’ military service and ESGR.
“By and large, employers have not been prior military, and when they see their employees and what they are doing for our country in their military life it impresses them,” said Wallace. “They are proud to have them as employees, and see the success they achieve in their military careers.”
This was the case for Charles Lewis, BAE Systems director of aviation protection systems from Phoenix, Arizona, who said it was a wonderful event.
“We really benefit from our Guard and Reserve personnel and to be recognized by them is a great honor for us,” he said. “To have an opportunity to meet and talk with other companies and senior Reserve personnel and be welcomed by them and Keesler Air Force Base and the surrounding Biloxi community in such a welcoming way was amazing.”
Lewis added that it was a great opportunity to share information and ideas with business leaders and military personnel about ways to create a closer partnership between industry and the Guard and Reserve.
“Some of those ideas we are going to take back and look at ways to expand our already existing relationship with Guard and Reserve personnel.”
For more information about ESGR and its programs, visit: www.esgr.mil.