by TSgt. Dan Heaton
127th Wing Public Affairs
Lt. Col. Sean Campbell, a pilot with the 107th Fighter Sqaudron, explains the capabilities of an A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft to a group of visiting civilian employers at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., Aug. 24, 2011. The employers are from the Washington, D.C. area. The trip to Selfridge was organized by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve organization to help educate employers about the Guard and Reserve forces. Campbell is standing next to the GAU-8/A 30 mm Gatling gun, the primary weapon of the A-10. (USAF photo by John S. Swanson)
8/25/2011 - SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- -- A group of employers from the Washington, D.C., area have a better understanding of what the U.S. military does and how it works, thanks to a quick visit to the Motor City and one of the nation's most complex National Guard facilities.
The D.C. area employers spent three days at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, located about 20 miles from Detroit, and toured operations of all five U.S. military services. Selfridge is one of the very few locations in the country where all of the services - as well as several agencies of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security - operate on the same facility.
"Just learning about all the different things the military does and the technology involved is interesting," said Freddie Winston, a partner in F&L Construction, which is based in a Maryland suburb of the nation's capital. "I'll take the word back that its important that we give job security to people who give us national security."
Score that as a victory for the ESGR program, which organized the tour, known as a "Boss-Lift."
The ESGR - Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve - program exists to help smooth the waters between Guard and Reserve military personnel and their civilian employers. ESGR reps work to educate employers about the benefits of employing Guardsmen and Reservists - and also what the law is that protects the rights of those in the Guard and Reserve if they have to miss work due to military obligations.
"Bringing groups to Selfridge really gives us an opportunity to showcase a wide spectrum of the military, without having to lose a lot of time on a bus ride," said Gary Aten, executive director of the ESGR for Michigan. "A Boss-Lift is a relatively small group of people, but if we pick key employers, they can go back and tell their peers what it is all about."
Selfridge only recently became a destination for the Boss-Lift program. This year, two groups visited the base, the one from D.C., plus another for Nebraska. In all, about 40 employers paid a visit. They flew to the base on a military aircraft and then toured Air National Guard fighter and refueler aircraft, learned about Coast Guard and Army helicopters, visited a Marine Corps infantry company and attended a demonstration at an Army robotics lab - all at the same base.
The community outside the base also benefits as the employers on the Boss-Lift program stay in a local hotel, eat several meals in area restaurants and take one night "out on the town."
Aten said next year, Selfridge is expected to be the site for four incoming Boss-Lifts.
The ESGR program sponsors a variety of events around Michigan to educate employers about the Guard and Reserve. Most recently, about 250 employers attended a gathering at Selfridge during the practice day of the Selfridge Air Show.
Aten said Guard members should be proactive in communicating their military requirements to their employers.
"Good communication resolves most issues," Aten said.
To learn more about ESGR, visit www.esgr.com.
The 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard is the host organization at Selfridge, flying the KC-135 Stratotanker, an aerial refueler, and the A-10 Thunderbolt II, also known as the Warthog, which is an air-to-ground attack fighter. In addition to the Wing, Selfridge is home to numerous other military and federal agencies, which fly a variety of helicopters and small, light fixed-wing aircraft.