FORT KNOX, Ky. –
Employers of Soldiers from 1-149th deploying January 2022 flew from Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort to Fort Knox on a Blackhawk on December 10, 2021.
The mission, called Bosslift, is organized by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, or ESGR, to allow bosses to see their Soldiers preparing for mobilization.
"The goal with this type of event is to help bosses understand what their employers are going through as civilian Soldiers," said Jason Musgrave, volunteer for ESRG and Director of employee relations. "They take that experience back with them to their places of work, and it creates an understanding of the importance of their mission."
After arriving, the bosses were escorted around the base to experience their Soldiers' hands-on training.
The event started with a brief lead by the 1-149th commander, Lt. Col. Jason Mendez. He spoke about the overall deployment to include the history and demographics of the counties involved. Soldiers have since deployed to Kosovo and the Horn of Africa.
"Programs like this one are essential," said Maj. Ryan Hubbs, officer in charge of operations planning for the 1-149th Infantry Battalion. "It shows the importance of having citizen soldiers. People that participate in the community's workforce, but also have that obligation to defend our commonwealth and our nation."
After the brief, the bosses saw Soldiers engaging in riot training. The Soldiers demonstrated their tactics when facing potentially disruptive crowd environments. After riot training, they returned to the auditorium for lunch, served MREs or meal ready-to-eat.
"I wasn't sure which one to pick, but my Soldier said anything pasta is usually a safe bet," said one of the bosses. "I went with the chili mac, and it was pretty good."
After lunch, the bosses proceeded to the base's Engagement Skills Trainer facility.
According to Army.mil, the EST II is designed to simulate live weapon training events that directly support individual and crew-served weapons qualification, including individual marksmanship, small unit collective, and judgmental escalation-of-force exercises in a controlled environment.
"I was very surprised by all this," said Matthew Bertrand, Front desk/housekeeping supervisor at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. "I feel great admiration toward him (his Soldier) for all he can do, from carrying on a full-time job, his role with the military and his personal life at home -- he has sacrificed himself a lot for everyone."
Several bosses throughout the day vocalized a similar sentiment. One boss commenting “I thought I understood, but after today, I actually understand,” she said in response to one of the other employers’ comment about the programs importance.
“I feel like the employers all had a great time,” said Hubbs. “They had a good army day. They will go home, happy, energized and feeling like their employee is making a difference during their time away.”