Washington Air National Guard hosts ESGR Bosslift

  • Published
  • By Capt. Kimberly D. Burke, Western Air Defense Sector Public Affairs

Experiencing a midair refueling of fighter aircraft during a training mission with the Washington Air National Guard’s 141st Air Refueling Wing was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for 60 civilian employers taking part in the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Bosslift program June 6-7, 2018.

Civilian employers had to lay on their stomachs at the back of the KC-135 tanker aircraft, in order to witness the delicate dance as the two planes flew within feet of each other. The two F-15 fighter pilots from the Oregon Air National Guard’s 142nd Fighter Wing expertly positioned their aircraft below the KC-135 while the boom operator lay in a prone position to maneuver the telescoping fuel-carrying boom into place as he connected it to the other fighter aircraft’s fuel receptacle.    

After the two hour flight, the KC-135 landed back at Joint Base Lewis-McChord where civilian employers had an opportunity to learn more about other Washington Air National Guard missions to include the Western Air Defense Sector and 262nd Cyberspace Operations Squadron. 

The employers were show firsthand how the WADS guards America’s skies by watching all air traffic west of the Mississippi River for any potential threats and their ability to scramble alert fighter aircraft at a moment’s notice.   The 262nd Cyberspace Operations Squadron was the first Air National Guard Cyber Protection Team which performs protection missions based on commander mission priorities.  Employers were given a tour of the 262nd COS facility and learned how the unit is assisting domestic critical infrastructure defense.

The end of the day culminated with employers being able to interact with personnel and equipment from other military service components on JBLM such as the Washington Guard’s 10th Civil Support Team, the 627th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms Training and Maintenance (CATM) and Phoenix Ravens, and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. 

The 10th CST identifies and assesses suspected weapons of mass destruction hazards, advises civilian responders on appropriate actions through on-site testing and expert consultation, and facilitates the arrival of additional state and federal military forces. The team can be en route within three hours to support civil authorities.

CATM personnel are a vital component to keeping Airmen trained and qualified on the weapon systems they are issued when providing security on home station or deployed.  The Phoenix Raven teams help detect, deter and counter threats to Air Mobility Command aircraft by performing close-in aircraft security; advising aircrews on force protection measures; conducting airfield assessments; and assisting aircrews in the performance of their duties when not performing their primary security duties.

ESGR, a Department of Defense program, seeks to foster a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States.  For more information about ESGR outreach programs or volunteer opportunities visit