March Air Reserve Base, Calif. --
The 452nd Air Mobility Wing hosted more than 40 civilian employers of Team March members during Employer Appreciation Day here Sept. 6, 2019.
The annual event provides an opportunity to thank civilian employers for supporting their Citizen Airmen, reservists and guardsmen, while also educating employers on the significant role March Air Reserve Base plays in national defense. Employers had the opportunity to tour a static U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker and fly aboard a C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft as part of the event.
Employers began their day learning about Team March’s rich history and mission sets during a briefing at the base’s Joint Deployment Center. Col. Melissa Coburn, commander, 452 AMW, March ARB, and Chief Master Sgt. Octavio Ortiz, 452nd AMW command chief, March ARB, joined representatives from the USO and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to thank employers for supporting Team March’s citizen warriors.
“We truly appreciate your support,” said Tony Marraccino, area 5 vice chair, ESGR. Marraccino explained how ESGR, a Defense Department program,helps employers and members of the Guard and Reserve by educating them on the breadth of services and programs available.
Those in attendance learned first-hand how one of ESGR’s programs worked when Marraccino asked an employer in the audience to proceed to the front of the briefing area to receive a Patriot Award. Jennifer McKinley, information technology supervisor for California Correctional Health Care Services, was nominated and recognized by Master Sgt. Al Dupont sustainment services team lead, 163rd Force Support Squadron, March ARB.
Dupont was unable to meet his civilian employer’s start date for a new position due to receiving a short-notice recall from his unit to support emergency response efforts battling California wildfires. McKinley provided the time and flexibility for Dupont to focus on accomplishing his mission. The Patriot Award recognizes individual supervisors who support citizen warriors and their families with leaves of absences, flexibility in schedules, and time off before and after deployments.
After the briefings concluded, employers were shuttled by military bus to the base’s flight line to tour and board their scheduled aircraft.
“Not only do I sincerely appreciate our military, I’m grateful that I got to share an experience similar to one my brother had a couple of years ago,” said Chris Turner, chief project manager of Heritage Recycling in Vacaville, Calif. “Both of us have been long-time proponents of hiring service members, and find them to typically have a high level of discipline and integrity.”
Turner’s late brother, Staff Sgt. John Gonzalez, had participated in a similar event with the 349th Air Mobility Wing’s Employer Appreciation Flight at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.
After the training flight, civilian employers were released to visit their employees’ military work areas for a better understanding of what a Unit Training Assembly entails.
“I am always amazed with our military hardware and technology, but am in awe of our military men and women,” said Patrick Walsh, chief, Menifee Police Department. “It is humbling to see what they do to secure our way of life. I will always support and hire our Reserve – we owe them.”