Civilian, Military Careers collide for Employer Day

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Tyler Bolken
  • 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Life for many Reservists is like walking on a tight rope. They choose to serve their country and have a career outside of the military. To manage these roles they need the support of their military superiors, their family, and their civilian supervisors. Without that foundation, some or all parts of their lives could suffer.

To help facilitate this juggling act, the 944th Fighter Wing organized the 2021 Employer Day for unit Airmen to invite their civilian bosses to Luke Air Force Base and see what the mission is all about.

“We ask a lot of our Airmen when they are here for the Unit Training Assembly and sometimes we have to ask them to take on extra days within the week to help complete mission objectives,” said Col. James Greenwald, 944th FW commander. “We want to ensure the best relationship between our Airmen and their civilian bosses and the best way to do that is to show them what their employees do to defend our country.”

Upon arrival, the employers were given a mission brief that set the stage for what was expected throughout the visit.

“We are grateful for the additional skillsets and versatility our members’ civilian careers bring to our wing,” said Greenwald. “We hope after today you are able to gain that same appreciation, seeing the skillsets and commitment your employees demonstrate during these drill weekends that you may have not previously been aware of.”

Before moving on to tour the wing, representatives from Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve shared with the group about how they work with military members and their civilian employers to promote a culture in which all employers support and value the military service of their employees.

“At ESGR, our purpose is to facilitate and promote a cooperative culture of employer support for National Guard and Reserve service,” said Mr. Rustyn Sherer, ESGR Employer Outreach Volunteer.  “We seek ways to increase awareness of rights for employers and employees and to recognize outstanding employer support for members.”

During their tour, employers saw everything from a field kitchen and security forces tactics demonstrations, to weapons, aircraft maintenance, and up-close views of an F-35 Lightning II and F-16 Fighting Falcon.

“It’s really amazing to see how much goes into these weekends and how big of an operation it is,” said Britni Gallello, vice president of owned media for a local advertising company and supervisor to Staff Sgt. Tyler Bolken from the 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs office. “It’s great to learn more about their background and see other talents they have.”

At one point in the day’s schedule, Airmen escorted their bosses through their specific work centers explaining what their role is in the mission.

“The importance of showing our civilian employers what we do on these weekends is that they can have stronger understanding when we are pulled away from our civilian careers, and they can see our capabilities outside of what we may do at our day-to-day civilian job,” said Tech Sgt. Gary Wallace, crew chief with the 944th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

The event wrapped up with each employer receiving the Secretary of Defense Patriot Award and certificates of support presented by ESGR and Col. Greenwald as a token of thanks for their support of 944th Fighter Wing members.

“Having this knowledge from today gave me a whole new level of respect and understanding and it was a privilege to see it all firsthand,” said Gallello.