Civilian employers recognized for reserve support

(U.S. Air Force photo/Megan Crusher)

The Air Force Reserve is comprised of over 65,000 reservists, with the majority of those reservists being citizen Airmen, who along with their reserve career also have civilian careers that demand their time and attention.

It takes dedication and determination for reservists to successfully manage their civilian career alongside their reserve career. In order to successfully balance the two, reservists need the support of their civilian employers.

“Having the support of employers is a must in the Air Force Reserve,” said Capt. Perry Covington, public affairs director, 452 AMW, “without it our ability to accomplish the mission is much more difficult.”

Senior Airman Russell McMillan, photojournalist, 452nd AMW public Affairs, understands that necessity and presented two of his employers, Dr. Steven Jacobsen,  senior director of research, Kaiser Permanente and Annie Chen, director of research operations, Kaiser Permanente, with an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Patriot Award, at Kaiser Permanente in Pasadena, Dec. 8, because of their strong support for him when an unexpected military mission came.

“I called Annie, explained I wouldn’t be able to make it to work the next day and that was all I could say and she understood,” said McMillan. “When I received that type of support from both my employers, it spoke to me.”

McMillan went on to add how a year and a half prior he talked to his employers about how there will be a time when he won’t be able to go into work because of his military obligation and how much he appreciated their support. 

“This is one small token to say thank you to both of you because when the time did come you were there for me,” McMillan said.

Covington was in attendance along with McMillan and expressed how grateful he was for the support they gave and what an impact it had on accomplishing the mission.

“The support they provided enabled Senior Airman McMillan to focus entirely on the military mission without having to worry about his civilian job,” Covington said. “That security and support is crucial, thank you.”

The ESGR Patriot Award is given to employers for the high level of support they have shown their employee serving in the Guard and Reserve. For more information on the Patriot Award please visit