FORT INDIANTOWN GAP – Local employers will again be given an opportunity to get a glimpse into military life during the 2007 Bosslift Program.
This year’s program will run May 2-4.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, no other state has deployed more members of its guard and reserve than Pennsylvania. Approximately half of the 48,000 men and women serving in Pennsylvania’s guard and reserve have been called to serve since then.
Helping those who are called up is a group of volunteers known as Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. This group works for the Department of Defense and provides free education, consultation and if necessary, mediation for employers of guard and reserve employees.
The ESGR’s goal is to support America’s employers who share their employees with the Department of Defense to ensure national security.
One program that provides employers with a better understanding of just what their employee is doing during his or her service to the guard or reserve is Bosslift.
Bosslift is conducted once each year at Fort Indiantown Gap.
George Duell, Pennsylvania state chairman of the EGSR, said, “The Department of Defense started this program nearly a decade ago, and it was used in active military bases originally. Now we focus on the guard and reserve. It provides good interaction for employers and recognizes they are an active part of our national defense.”
Each summer, employers from across the state gather at Pennsylvania’s premiere military training ground and spend three days learning just what it is to be a member of the guard or reserve.
The participants tour the training facilities and get hands-on experience using the technology that the country’s fighting men and women use during their service.
Some of the most interesting trainings include helicopter, armored vehicle and weapons simulators, as well as tours of actual fighting vehicles on the base.
“This is an opportunity to visit with United States National Guard and Reserve forces to witness the leadership, management and technical skills training provided to your employees while serving America,” Del Spafford, North West Area representative of the PA ESGR, said. “Rarely do civilians have an opportunity to observe military training up close and personal.”
Spafford, of DuBois, leads a local contingent of employers to Fort Indiantown Gap each year. The base is home to the joint headquarters of the Pennsylvania National Guard along with facilities for the Army Reserve, Civil Air Patrol and civilian law enforcement agencies.
Some of the local businesses that have sent participants in the past include Cen-Clear Child Services, DuBois Fire Co., Parker/Hunter Inc., DuBois Regional Medical Center, Treasure Lake Property Owners’ Association, DuBois Regional Medical Center, DuBois Business College, Triangle Auto Springs and Brady Street Florist.
Spafford is currently looking for people who would be interested in participating in this year’s Bosslift program in May.
Maj. Gen. Jessica Wright, adjutant general of the Pennsylvania National Guard, hosts the three-day event and makes a point of talking with each employer during a formal dinner at the end of the second day.
“To me the technology and training were very impressive, but I truly appreciated the opportunity to speak with Pennsylvania’s highest-ranking military officials,” John Brennan of DRMC said. “General Wright took the time to speak to every one of us and thank us for our support.”
Gen Jerry G. Beck Jr., commanding general of the 28th Infantry Division, will be part of this year’s Bosslift program when Pennsylvania’s Stryker Brigade Combat Team is highlighted for the participants.
Pennsylvania is one of just six stryker brigades in the country. The $1.5-billion project spans approximately 20 counties in the state with 300 vehicles located at 10 readiness centers, 11 organizational maintenance shops and 11 armories.
The stryker brigade program allows troops to deploy rapidly with limited logistics and be on the ground in any part of the world within 96 hours. The program is expected to be fully operational by 2010 with new construction and renovations to be undertaken throughout the state.
“With this high level of technology and training available to our guard and reserve (troops), the employer also benefits,” Duell said. “A lot of employers say they notice skills and confidence and the willingness to take on additional responsibilities from their employees who serve. In the long haul, it helps everybody.”
To find out more about the upcoming Bosslift program, contact Spafford at 583-7523. A limited number of spots are available in the program locally each year. Participants must register early, and a $100 registration fee applies.