FORT McCOY, Wis. -- Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cm really impressed with the dedication of our Soldiers and I appreciate they are out there protecting their country,Aca,!A? Eric Crawford said while he and his employee, Spc. James Glad, were having their Meal, Ready to Eat on Fort McCoyAca,!a,,cs South Post.

Crawford is a project manager at Ocurrance, Inc., Draper, Utah. Glad is a sales specialist at Ocurrance. Glad is also a member of the 118th Engineer Company, American Fork, Utah. The 118th, a Utah Army National Guard unit, is training at Fort McCoy to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Crawford was one of about 30 employers of Soldiers with the 118th who came to Fort McCoy on an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve-sponsored Boss Lift.

The ESGRAca,!a,,cs mission is to gain and maintain employer support for Guard and Reserve service by recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of the law and resolving conflict through mediation.

ESGRAca,!a,,cs stated vision is to Aca,!A"develop and promote a culture in which all American employers support and value the military service of their employees.Aca,!A?

The ESGR Boss Lift program gives employers a look at the type of work their employees would be doing while on active-duty deployment.

The Boss Lift also familiarizes employers and community leaders with the vital role the Guard and Reserve perform in preserving national security.

Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cm absolutely glad I came on the trip,Aca,!A? Crawford said. Aca,!A"It is the opportunity of a lifetime. I got to see and appreciate all that our Soldiers do. IAca,!a,,cm really impressed with the amount of training they go through. It looks like a lot of fun.Aca,!A?

Glad quickly said, Aca,!A"it is a lot of fun but it is a lot of work.Aca,!A?

The Boss Lift group flew on an Air Force KC-135 to Volk Field, met with 118th leadership, then went to Fort McCoy to observe crew-served night live-fire training. The visitors experienced wear of the Kevlar helmet and outer tactical vest, requirements for anyone on a live-fire range.

The next day they had breakfast with their Soldiers at a McCoy dining facility and then went to observe the 1221st Engineer Company conducting convoy live-fire training. The 1221st is going through mobilization training, and the 118th will perform the same range tasks in subsequent days.

The employers group had a mid-day break rallying with their 118th Soldiers for MRE-time, a quick ride on the rough-terrain driving course, and then took a brief trek to the post exchange. They had an early dinner with their Soldiers at a McCoy dining facility and a tour of the 118thAca,!a,,cs barracks, which concluded their interaction and visit with their Soldiers.

Another employer, Jason Bringhurst, owner of Bringhurst Process Services in Salt Lake City, said it was awesome to see what his employee does and Aca,!A"how extremely nice and helpful everybody in the Army is.Aca,!A?

Aca,!A"I got a chance to see a lot, how hard our Soldiers work and train, the serious work they do, how real their work is,Aca,!A? Bringhurst said. Aca,!A"The whole trip is a reality check for me.Aca,!A? His employee is Spc. Anthony Gonzales.

Bringhurst particularly noted observing the night live-fire, riding in a RG-31, seeing an F-16 being refueled in flight from the aerial tanker, and summarizing it by saying, Aca,!A"everything.Aca,!A?

Vickie Young, who works in accounts receivable at the Salvation Army Store in Salt Lake City, said she had no idea what to expect. Aca,!A"I got a ride strapped into the turret of a RG-31 and that was a thrill ride. I got to experience what our Soldiers go through.Aca,!A? YoungAca,!a,,cs Soldier is Pfc. Siliga Lubmirrernod, an employee at the Salvation Army.

Young said about Lubmirrernod, Aca,!A"It is saddening, yet we are blessed that he will be defending our country. I am honored and blessed to be chosen to visit Fort McCoy and experience what my Soldier will be doing and going through in Afghanistan.Aca,!A?

Retired Army Col. Kim Watts, executive director of the ESGR Utah Committee, said the Boss Lift to Fort McCoy was the most-beneficial Boss Lift of the seven he has had in four years. Aca,!A"This is the first time employers observed a night live-fire exercise. ThatAca,!a,,cs very important because our Army doesnAca,!a,,ct fight just in the daytime,Aca,!A? he said.

Aca,!A"One of the paybacks for us from this trip to Fort McCoy is that we send these employers home and they will tell and share with everybody in their communities about what they saw,Aca,!A? Watts said.

Boss Lift Commander Byron Lemmon, who is vice chairman for the Utah Committee, said it is important for employers to support their Soldiers and to understand what their Soldier does. Aca,!A"Then they will tell everybody else in the business world about it.Aca,!A?

The 86-year-old Lemmon has been working with the ESGR program for 24 years.

Fort McCoy Public Affairs Officer Linda Fournier said Aca,!A"Having the Utah ESGR group come to Fort McCoy gave us the opportunity to showcase what we do at Fort McCoy and how that fits into the overall Army mission.Aca,!A?

Aca,!A"In talking with the Utah employers,Aca,!A? Fournier said, Aca,!A"they were amazed at what we do at Fort McCoy. They had heard about other major Army installations, like Fort Bragg, Fort Hood and others, but they saw the quality installation that Fort McCoy is and where Soldiers are receiving the necessary training to go on deployment.Aca,!A?

Capt. Blake Bingham, commander of the 118th, said the day Aca,!A"scored as a big win for everybody.Aca,!A?

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16