Employers receive unique look into Air Guard training Published April 15, 2015 By Staff Sgt. Luke Olson 114th Fighter Wing Public Affairs JOE FOSS FIELD, S.D. -- The 114th Fighter Wing and South Dakota Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) invited approximately 20 employers and civic leaders on a Boss Lift air refueling mission that took off from Joe Foss Field, S.D., April 11, 2015. The 'Bosses', nominated by their Air Guard employees, boarded two KC-135 Stratotankers assigned to the 185th Air Refueling Wing, Sioux City, IA, and witnessed three 114th FW F-16 Fighting Falcon jets conduct an air refueling training mission while taking in an aerial view of the Missouri River. Each employer was invited to the boom operator's bay on the aircraft to observe the refueling action up close. The Boss Lift provides employers an opportunity to see first-hand what citizen-Airmen experience while away from work to attend military training or activated for a federal or state mission. Col. Russ Walz, 114th FW commander, briefed the employers about the 114th FW and the South Dakota Air National Guard and spoke about a variety of topics to include: mission accomplishment, deployments, readiness, recent awards and recognition, economic impacts, and the day's flight schedule. He explained how the 114th FW provides coverage to protect our homeland 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year and expressed his thanks to the employers for their support of this mission. Walz then introduced his boss, Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, adjutant general for South Dakota. Reisch briefed the group about the history of the South Dakota National Guard and emphasized how much he values their support of service members. "We rely greatly on our traditional guardsman and reservists and without your support we wouldn't be able to do our jobs," said Reisch. "The role you play is certainly a direct role in the defense of this nation." Almost half of our nation's military strength resides in the Guard and Reserve making them an essential part of the military. The link between members of the Guard and Reserve and their civilian employers led to the creation of ESGR. Thus, the ESGR Boss Lift program is intended to gain and maintain support from all public and private employers of Reserve component members by providing insight into their employee's military duty. "A successful Boss Lift helps develop strong personal relationships between employers of Reserve component members and the Department of Defense," said Jonathan Goehring, ESGR program support technician. "It provides employers and supervisors the opportunity to better understand what their employees do when they are away from their civilian occupation for military duty." The ESGR representatives also explained the mission of ESGR which is to develop and promote employer support for Guard and Reserve service by advocating relevant initiatives, recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of applicable laws, and resolving conflict between employers and service members. The employers concluded the day by signing the ESGR "Statement of Support" which is the cornerstone of ESGR's efforts to gain and maintain employer support and is intended to 'open the door' to develop employers as advocates for their employees participation in the National Guard and Reserve.