JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
Thirty-three civilian employers of the 433rd Airlift Wing’s Reserve Citizen Airmen were treated to an Operation Bosslift event Aug. 4 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.
Through the event, employers were given a glimpse into today’s Air Force Reserves component fulfilling the mission. Several Alamo Wing organizations were present to showcase their missions.
Defenders with the 433rd Security Forces Squadron had multiple small arms weapons available for the employers. A 433rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron evacuation crew was present with litters containing portable medical equipment and a dummy to discuss how they care for patients when transporting them by military aircraft. Firefighters with the 433rd Civil Engineering Squadron brought a fire truck and talked with employers about operations.
The event culminated with the participants flying faster than 250 mph at an altitude of 2,000 feet in a C-5M Super Galaxy military plane down to the Corpus Christi area, across the coastline and back to San Antonio again.
“A lot of us have been in the military, and a lot of us have not; for those of us that have it was many years ago,” said Tim Kasey, a pilot associated with Schwertner Farms, Inc. “We got a real sense of what the military is doing with our fellow pilots and our family members who are involved in it. The idea of mobilizing and getting that monster in the air (referring to the C-5M) and heading off to send support…pretty impressive. It was great to revisit.”
The event helped employers to connect the dual roles of their employees also serving the nation.
“What was really useful about today was that we can relate to the culture and the world and the life of the military,” Kasey said.
More than one employer was interested in their Citizen Airman’s military service.
“I’ve always been curious, ‘what are you going to do?’ when our PT teacher comes and tells us he’s going to be out those days,” said Julie Rosales, assistant principal. “Today was good because now we can make those connections on the things he tells us and also to see what all the service men and women do day in and day out. Typically when I see him, he’s doing PT with the kids, mentoring and counseling them. When I saw him out here today he was in uniform and told us how he gets the planes ready; his role is very different. Today was very educational and informational.”
Many employers reflected on the differences between civilian and military culture.
“It was very eye-opening to see the different facets of the military,” said Lindsey Gonzalez, Gilbert Elementary School principal. “A theme I noticed today was the team atmosphere. It was really great to see how everyone works together as a team; everyone has a role and is supportive of one another.”
The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve program hosted Operation Boss Lift, which furthered the Department of Defense’s goal to help all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of National Guardsmen and Reservists.
Kerry Reyna, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve ombudsman, gave her contact information to the employers and spoke them after their C-5M flight.
“You’ve got to do business, to meet the goals and productions and get the job done,” Reyna said. “Now you’ve got a reservist or national guardsman out serving their country, and you want them to! However, I know sometimes you have a question and that’s where the ESGR comes in. You can call me anytime.”
The event was an example of the program’s mission to facilitate conversation between Reservists and their civilian employers.
“It was a privilege hosting our ESGR bosses day flight,” said Col. Thomas K. Smith Jr., 433rd Airlift Wing commander, who piloted the group’s trip south. “Our men and women of the Alamo Wing enjoyed showing the employers of our Guard and Reserve Airmen how a C-5M Super Galaxy mission is conducted. Many excited and smiling employers were escorted to the cockpit to see the Southern coast of Texas and talk to the crew.”
The day’s events will reshape some of the participating employers’ future perceptions about those serving both them and the country.
“I appreciate the sacrifice of the reservists,” said Mike Reenders, SkyWest Airlines captain. “What they do for us is magnificent and I’ll definitely look at everything a little differently after this experience, that’s for sure. They’re great people and this whole experience was wonderful.”