Story by: Staff Sgt. Amanda Zuniga

Posted: April 23, 2015

Staff Sgt. John Sands A civilian employer fires a machine gun at Camp Swift in Bastrop, Texas, during an Employer Support for Guard and Reserve event with the 636th Brigade Support Battalion, Joint Task Force 136 (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade), as part of the unit's weeklong annual training period April 21, 2015. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. John Sands/Released)
Staff Sgt. John Sands
A civilian employer fires a machine gun at Camp Swift in Bastrop, Texas, during an Employer Support for Guard and Reserve event with the 636th Brigade Support Battalion, Joint Task Force 136 (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade), as part of the unit's weeklong annual training period April 21, 2015. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. John Sands/Released)

BASTROP, Texas - Guardsmen of the 636th Brigade Support Battalion, Joint Task Force 136 (Maneuver Enhancement Brigade), welcomed their employers to spend a day in the life of a Soldier at Camp Swift in Bastrop, Texas, during the unit’s weeklong annual training period April 21, 2015.

The “Boss Lift” experience, coordinated through the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, allowed participants to gain a better perspective on what the National Guard can do in response to natural disasters and what training is like for their citizen-Soldiers.

“The military has other capabilities than just the combat role,” said City of Marshall Mayor Ed Smith. “Now I know how the military would fit into a city’s disaster plan.” 

Civil servants from Marshall, Texas, attended the event with employers because the city is home to the 636th BSB Headquarters.

“Even though they may not be a direct employer, constituents that live in that community are here in this formation,” said Lt. Col. John Crawson, 636th BSB commander. “Harrison County and the City of Marshall are extremely supportive of our National Guard units, and they never get a chance to see what we do. This is great community outreach."

The visitors had the opportunity to fire machine guns, enjoy a Meal, Ready-to-Eat, ride in a military helicopter, and visit a tactical operations center. Many of the employers only had a vague idea of what their employees do on training weekends. 

“I think that it’s one thing to regale [our bosses] with stories of the stuff that we do,” said Capt. Lucas Hamilton of the 636th BSB. “It’s a completely different thing when [they] can come out here and see what we do, the area that we’re in, some of the operations that we do and see some of the training that we do.”

Boss Lift participants got a first-hand look at what it takes to be a Soldier, whose job in the National Guard may be completely different from their civilian job. Soldiers train long and hard to be proficient in each of their military professions. 

“It made me respect the military more and appreciate the dedication you put into your training,” said Anthony Miller of Full Thrust Taekwondo, whose wife serves in the 636th BSB. “I will support the Guard more and the job my spouse does.”

This was not the first time that bosses have visited their Soldier employees, nor will it be the last.

“It’s really important that employers see why their soldiers are missing work,” Crawson said. “It’s almost like a family, and your employer is a part of that family."