Civilian employers 'deploy'

  • Published
  • By Airman First Class Patrick Cabellon
  • 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Employers of Reservists here got a small taste April 5 during employer orientation day of what it is like to be deployed. 

Employer orientation day is an event for Reservists' employers to see what their Reserve employees do in the Air Force Reserve. The event demonstrates for employers that when the Reserve employee is at a Unit Training Assembly, he or she is actively engaged in the defense of our nation. 

"It was pretty cool," said Dane Hale, Microsoft Corporation. "I'm a private pilot myself. I always see C-17s flying around. I learned a lot from this experience." Mr. Hale employs Maj. Stephen Oliver, 446th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. 

Another employer, Shelley Bartlett with the Boeing Company, shared the same enthusiasm. 

"It was an amazing experience. I really liked the deployment process," she said. "I was impressed." 

The 21 employers attending April 5 received a short unclassified pre-deployment intelligence briefing before being assigned to a "chalk." As led by their troop commanders, the smaller groups moved through four stations designed to highlight the missions of the 446th Airlift Wing. The groups each went through a mobility processing line, viewed demonstrations from the 446th Civil Engineer Squadron's explosive ordnance disposal flight, tried on chemical and battle protection gear, and saw how patients are cared for by the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. 

Ms. Bartlett also enjoyed the flight. 

"That was a once in a lifetime experience which will forever be one of the best experiences of my life," she said. "Right up there with the flight was the privilege of meeting and talking to your Reservists." 

Ms. Bartlett now has a deeper understanding for what Reservists go through, she said. 

"I was able to glimpse for a moment what these courageous men and women go through. I have and will continue to share what I learned with my colleagues and convey how important it is to support this program," said Ms. Bartlett. Ms. Bartlett employs Senior Master Sgt. Ronald Hinkson, 36th Aerial Port Squadron. 

After the mock deployment, the employers went on a C-17 for a two-hour flight. While on the flight, the employers were to witness a demonstration of an airdrop and later a combat offload. Unfortunately, there was an electrical issue and the cargo could not be dropped.

The next 446th AW Employer Orientation Day will be in October.