by Senior Airman Anna-Marie Wyant
927th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Full article at http://www.927arw.afrc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123210131
6/18/2010 – MACDILL
AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — Approximately 30 local employers and four representatives for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve took a flight on a KC-135 Stratotanker with a 927th Air Refueling Wing crew here today as part of an ESGR Bosslift.
The three-hour flight took the passengers over the Atlantic coast of Florida to demonstrate refueling a C-17 Globemaster III from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. Passengers were given the opportunity to take pictures of the demonstration from the boom pod, the area in the rear of the aircraft from which the boom operator controls aerial refueling.
Witnessing an up-close and personal air refueling was a first-time experience for most of the employers, but for one, flying was an altogether new sensation. Johnny T. Martinez, owner of Martinez Maintenance Services, said this was his first time ever flying on any aircraft.
“It was awesome,” Mr. Martinez said of his first flight. “I couldn’t believe how fast we were going!”
Mr. Martinez, 47, said he had a fear of flying before this experience, but now he would like to travel by air more often. He said he was glad Master Sgt. Johnny Pullen, a boom operator with the 63rd Air Refueling Squadron here, convinced him to go on this “experience of a lifetime.”
Sergeant Pullen, who has worked part-time for Mr. Martinez for the past eight months, nominated Mr. Martinez for the flight and a certificate of appreciation, which Col. David P. Pavey, 927th ARW commander, presented to him and other supportive employers this morning. Sergeant Pullen had only positive things to say about his working relationship with Mr. Martinez, and the feeling appears to be mutual.
“[Sergeant Pullen] is a great guy,” Mr. Martinez said. “I wish I had 10 more workers like him; he’s the hardest working guy I’ve had.”
ESGR, a Department of Defense organization established in 1972, works as to promote this type of positive relationship between Guardsmen or Reservists and their civilian employers. Part of ESGR’s mission is thanking supportive employers like Mr. Martinez through Bosslifts, awards and more, said retired Army Col. Martin Rosen, the Florida ESGR Bosslift Coordinator.
“We just want to show the civilian employers what Reservists and Guardsmen do,” said Colonel Rosen, who has volunteered for ESGR for 25 years. “They seem really impressed to see what their employees are doing for the military.”
In addition to showing gratitude to the employers, ESGR representatives also use Bosslifts as an opportunity to spread the word about their organization. Colonel Rosen said ESGR is always looking for new volunteers and new employers who are supportive of their military employees. He said employers can sign a Statement of Support as a way to promise to be supportive of their employees’ military careers.
“We usually get good responses after Bosslifts,” he said. “If [employers] are patriotic and want to support Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen, ESGR is a great opportunity for them to show their support.”
Mr. Martinez said he plans to sign his Statement of Support and continue cooperating with ESGR.
“Everyone should,” Mr. Martinez said of supporting Guardsmen and Reservists. “It’s the right thing to do.”