JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Nearly 40 Jacksonville-area employers visited three Reserve squadrons in Jacksonville as part of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Boss Lift program Oct. 28.
Boss Lift brings civilian employers to places Reserve and Guard members serve to educate them about the military and show them the work their employees do while on military duty.
"This was a great opportunity to bring employers to where their service members work while performing their military duty," said Carl Burchfield, Jacksonville area chairman for ESGR. "We want employers to support Guard and Reserve members and we want service members to support employers."
The group visited Hanger 1000, where they toured squadron work spaces for Fleet Logistic Support Squadrons 58 which operates C-40 Clipper cargo planes-a version of the Boeing 737 modified to carry cargo as well as passengers. They also visited Fleet Logistic Support Squadron 62 (VR-62) which operates the C-130 Hercules-a four-engine, 'heavy lift' cargo plane.
Visitors received an operations brief detailing the support Reservists provide to the Navy for warfighting and humanitarian assistance missions including relief efforts after the Indonesian tsunami, the Pakistani earthquake, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Japanese tsunami and earthquake, and direct support of combat operations in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq.
In addition to the C-40 and C-130, employers toured a P-3 Orion from Patrol Squadron 62 (VP-62). Originally designed for anti-submarine warfare, the P-3 has been adapted to various roles including surveillance, counter-narcotics operations and anti-surface warfare.
"We would not be capable of fulfilling our mission without your support, roughly 60 percent of our personnel are Reservists, so the time you allow your employee to serve is essential to our success," said Cmdr. Alex Ellerman, commanding officer of VR-62, who spoke to the group about the importance of their support.
Many civilian companies were honored during the event, including CSX Corporation, which recently received the ESGR Freedom Award-the highest recognition given by the U.S. government to employers for their support of their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. The Freedom Award is presented annually to the nation's 15 most supportive employers.
"We are big supporters of the military, so this was a great opportunity to see where they work," said Fran Chinnici, a vice president at CSX.
PR2 Chris Hanover, a Reservist with VR-62, and an employee of Everbank, attended the event with his civilian supervisor Motri Demri.
"It's a great opportunity to see where Chris works. It is important for us to see his mission and how important it is, it gives us a much better understanding of when he is gone from work, and why," said Demri.
"It was a unique experience flying in a military aircraft, and getting to watch Reservists in action," said Ken Bryan, chairman of County Commissioners in St. Johns County.
Lt. j.g. Amy Hession, a Reservist with VP-62, and an employee of Citibank brought her civilian employer, Brenda Bailey on the Boss Lift.
"It was great to see what she does while she is serving the Navy," said Bailey, "and great to see the same traits she brings to work with us, hard work and leadership, she brings to the Navy as well."
The ESGR was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reservist and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee's military commitments.
For more news from Patrol Squadron 62, visit www.navy.mil/local/vp62/.