Citizen Airmen give civilian bosses behind-scenes look

Staff Sgt. Nestor Cruz

The 944th Fighter Wing Air Force Reserve unit at Luke Air Force Base hosted Boss’s Day 2015 on Nov. 7 providing more than 85 employers a peek into the military service of their employees.

In an action-packed day designed to show local and out-of-state civilian employers a day in the life of citizen Airmen, the guest employers observed wing members training in combat and support skills used during real-world deployments.

Opening comments and a wing mission briefing were given by Col. Kurt Gallegos, 944th FW commander.

“We have two goals here today — showcase the 944th and have some fun,” he said.

From taking to the sky to observe a refueling mission from the belly of a KC-135, provided by the 434th Air Refueling Wing from Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana, to participating in a military convoy exercise, employers were given a behind-the-scenes look not many civilians get to experience.

“This was just fabulous, well worth the trip,” said Bobbie Gibbons, an insurance agent who traveled from Salt Lake City to attend the event. “It was so educational, and I have to say I am really impressed with the staff. Everyone is prepared, friendly and so knowledgeable. The convoy training was a whole new experience for me.”

Wing members showcased their combat skills, talked about personal experiences, discussed how they train on programs such as the emergency medical systems, and explained how improvised explosive devices are discovered and de-armed. The day’s events also included several squadron exhibitions and demonstrations to include an F-35 Lightning II, F-16 Fighting Falcon and A-10 Thunderbolt II static display.

Tech. Sgt. Brian Miller, 944th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels technician nominated his boss for a Patriot Award and asked her to attend the Boss’s Day event.

“My supervisors are always understanding and supportive of my military commitment and overall decision to serve,” Miller said.

The Patriot Award, given by the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, reflects the efforts made by civilian employers to support Reserve members through a wide-range of actions including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence if needed.

“The flight was so fun, this whole tour was an eye-opening experience for sure,” said Rebecca Keefer, CB Richard Ellis/Cigna facility manager and Miller’s civilian supervisor. “I really had no idea what Brian did on a [unit training assembly] weekend. He has a great work ethic and wonderful customer service skills that probably come from serving in the military.”

Before the day ended, the participants gathered for closing comments and presentation of ESGR Patriot Awards.

The objective was to give employers a better understanding of what their Air Force Reserve employees do when they are away from the office fulfilling their military commitment.

“Balancing family, a civilian and military career is not easy,” Gallegos said. “The support given by a civilian employer is invaluable. If it were not for all of you, we could not do our job. I truly believe we exceeded that goal here today.”