Army - Air Guard Employer Event a Success Published Oct. 8, 2008 By Tech. Sgt. Annette Kornasiewicz 180th FW Public Affairs November 2008 -- The 180th Fighter Wing hosted a joint employer event sponsored by the Adjutant General and the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve September 9, 2008. Twenty-four employers nominated by Ohio Army and Air National Guard members had the opportunity to learn a little more about the guard mission, as well as experience a bit of what their employees do as Soldiers and Airmen. The day was also an opportunity for our leadership to say 'Thank you' to those employers for their sacrifices in a world environment that relies heavily on the U.S. guard and reserve troops. An overview of that great responsibility was given during a briefing to the employers that morning by Maj. Gen. Harry W. Feucht, Jr., Assistant Adjutant General for Ohio Air National Guard, and Brig. Gen. Matthew L. Kambic, Assistant AdjutantGeneral for Ohio Army National Guard. "Your employees make up a very large part of the services as a whole," said Feucht. "Nearly 50% of military forces are now guard and reserve." Kambic provided insight to the employers as to where Ohio National Guard members have been since 9/11. In addition to being deployed all over the world, the troops have also been utilized during natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina. "Despite this tempo of deployments we will be here to serve the citizens of our great state," said Kambic. Col. Mark E. Bartman, Commander of the 180th FW, further thanked the employers for taking time out of their busy day to learn about the Guard mission. Many employers said they learned so much through the briefings. "It was so interesting to understand the actual numbers and to understand some of the Ohio responsibility. I had no idea how big of a part the Guard plays," said Todd Flora of Gordon Food Service. After the briefings, the group then got a chance to see inside an F-16 cockpit at the hangar, as well as try on pairs of Night Vision Goggles and see a demonstration of a G-suit at the parachute shop. The employers were then transported to the Camp Perry Training site on a CH-47 Chinook helicopter with the back hatch open for all to enjoy the days' perfect sky. While at Camp Perry, the employers were treated to an MRE lunch before attending the Engagement Skills Training- Small Arms Weapons/Hands-On Familiarization briefing. They then tested their skills on the Combat Pistol Qualification Course .22 caliber live fire popup range before heading back to the 180th FW. Greeters on the flight-line at the 180th could tell from the high-fives the group gave them that the employers thoroughly enjoyed the day. "I would describe it as 'Incredible," said Gary Grime, Director of Ranger Services for the Toledo Metroparks. Grime served in the Defiance Army Guard as a company clerk years ago, however he said he gained a much better understanding of the current status of the Guard as it had changed so much over the years. "The big difference today is the interaction (of the Guard leadership) with the family and your place of employment," said Grime. "They could not have been nicer." If a Soldier or Airman missed the chance to honor their employer, there will be chances in the future. "More opportunities to nominate employers are on the horizon," said Lt. Col. Lisa Gammon, Ohio National Guard Employer Readiness Officer and chief organizer of the event."The Adjutant General will be sponsoring a joint event on a quarterly basis." Events are planned into 2009 and can give the military member an opportunity to honor their employer. "It really comes from the Soldier or Airman," said Gammon. At their exit briefing, Feucht imparted to the guests how important their role is in the ANG picture. "We could not perform at the operations tempo without the support of our employers," said Feucht. "You are a part of defending this nation. We thank you for that."