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Around The Fleet

Navy Lauds Civilian Employers

Job flexibility allows Reservists to thrive

Members of the civilian business community received a unique opportunity to witness firsthand the capabilities of the Navy during the 2014 Navy Employer Recognition Event (NERE), held at Joint Expeditionary Base (JEB) Little Creek.

The NERE recognizes employers who provide exceptional support for their Reserve Sailor employees. Each employer was selected based on nominations by the Sailors they employ.

"It's important for Navy Reserve employers to see the type of work their employees perform when they leave to support the Navy Reserve," said Chief of Navy Reserve Vice Adm. Robin Braun. "This event puts it all into perspective for these employers, and they come away with a much better understanding of what the Navy does, and the kind of training and experience their employees receive while away serving their country."

Following a welcome brief with Braun and Rear Adm. Bryan Cutchen, commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command, the tour kicked into high gear with a visit to Naval Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) for an up-close look at some of the weaponry, vehicles and hardware of NECC units.

Their next stop was a rare glimpse at a demonstration by Navy SEAL Team 18. After emerging from their camouflaged positions, the team performed a hard extraction complete with a SWCC (special warfare combatant-craft crewmen) boat unit firing blanks to simulate the rescue. The SEALs even received assistance from Paul Smith, an employer representing General Electric, who called in the boat unit to perform the extraction. "This is an amazing experience to meet these guys and see what they do. It's incredible to see how they transition from civilian life, while still being able to put in the time and effort to keep up their training and conditioning," said Smith. "They are some pretty amazing individuals - true artisans of their craft."

Chief Special Warfare Boat Operator Alexander Sherlock was especially excited to be able to demonstrate the capabilities of the special warfare community and help show their appreciation to the employers. "I just want to say thanks for the support. It takes a lot of time to keep up our skills. As a civilian I am a paramedic and my employer has to move around a lot of people in order to allow me to come out here and keep my skills up at a high level," said Sherlock.

"Outstanding employer support goes beyond allowing Sailors time to train," said Braun. "Employer support can mean any number of things. These employers have shoveled snow, mowed lawns, invited family members to company outings and even provided presents at Christmas, all in support of mobilized service members and their families."

Following lunch, the honorees had the opportunity to witness life aboard a Navy ship during a tour of amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), and experience the tight quarters of a fast attack submarine aboard USS Scranton (SSN 756) at Naval Station Norfolk.

Although impressed with the various air and sea platforms and hardware Reserve Sailors use in their Navy jobs, Tammy Heiser of the United Service Organization in Arlington, Va., was more excited to meet and interact with the Sailors who man them. "It's great for us to be able to come out and see what our Sailors actually do. You can tell they enjoy talking about it as much as we enjoy listening and learning," said Heiser. "They really light up and you can see the pride in what they do."

The event wrapped up with a trip to Chambers Field at Naval Air Station Norfolk where employers had the opportunity to see F/A-18, F-5, E-2, HH-60, and C-40 aircraft and meet with aviators from regional squadrons before ending their day at a reception at the historic Pennsylvania House.

"Employers are a key facet of every Reserve Sailor's life. The service each Sailor provides to the Fleet is achieved in no small part due to their employer's support," said Braun. "By allowing their employees to serve, they enable the Navy Reserve to contribute to our nation's mission overseas and at home. Their support can never be taken for granted."

Read more information about the Navy Reserves.