Over 30 employers met at the North Carolina National Guard's (NCNG) Army Aviation Support Facility in Morrisville, N.C. March 10, 2020, to learn more about what the guardsmen they employ do during their time away from work.
The event, known as Bosslift, is sponsored by the North Carolina Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) and is aimed at helping Soldiers build a relationship between the NCNG and civilian employers.
"I think it's important for our employers to understand what we do as Soldiers and here as pilots in order to prepare for both our domestic operations and also our wartime mission, they are the key linkage for us to be able to do what we do," said Lt Col Dan McAuliffe, the executive officer for the 449th Theater Aviation Brigade. "Without their cooperation and support, we just can't get the training we need to accomplish our mission safely."
Several leaders from the 449th explained to the employers the importance of the Guard's mission both deployed and at home, and the importance of the training Soldiers complete during their once monthly drill weekends and their annual trainings which typically last around two weeks or more.
McAuliffe said he hopes that by understanding what their training entails, Soldiers will have an easier time when requesting time away from work for Guard commitments.
"It's not just two weeks a year, it's not just drill weekends, it is more than that," said McAuliffe. "By employers understanding the complexity of what we do and how their employees fit into that equation, it makes the conversation they have to have a lot easier."
After learning about the training demands of the Soldiers they employ, the group, ranging from managers to business owners, had the opportunity to experience the more thrilling side of being a Soldier; they got to take a ride in a Black Hawk Helicopter.
Ken Oppenheim, an area chair for ESGR, helped organize this Bosslift in part because the Soldiers of the 449th returned from their deployment a little over a year ago.
Oppenheim said that he hopes fostering this relationship will help the employers be more supportive of the Soldiers who work for them.
"They can't live on a drill paycheck," he said. "So they've got to have the employers standing behind them."
The North Carolina National Guard stands ready to deploy, both for federal missions and in support of domestic operations like hurricane recovery, but the Soldiers would not have the support they need were it not for the support of their civilian employers.
Story by Staff Sgt. Mary Junell