Employers visit Kentucky Guard troops headed for Iraq

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Story by Capt. Andi Hahn, 149th MEB Public Affairs

Photos by Staff Sgt. Michael Oliver, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

Soldiers from the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade demonstrate the equipment they use to civilian employers and news media in preparation for their deployment to Iraq as part of the ESGR "bosslift" to Camp Atterbury, Ind. June 29, 2011.

Click here to see more pictures of this event.

CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. (June 29, 2011) — Civilian employers and news media from all over Kentucky got a taste of military life while visiting Soldiers from the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade during the Kentucky Committee of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve 2011 “bosslift” to Camp Atterbury, Ind., June 29.

The 149th MEB is currently mobilized deploying to Iraq and the bosslift was an opportunity to bring employers of these Soldiers to a military training environment and allow them to see first-hand what their employees do for the military.

Spc. John Lundy from 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry, left his regular job with the Army Corps of Engineers in Harlan County, Ky., to deploy on active duty with the Kentucky National Guard.  His boss, resource manager Dave Robinson, had a newfound respect for the commitment and sacrifice his employee has made.

Soldiers from the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade demonstrate the functions of an M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon in preparation for their deployment to Iraq to civilian employers during the ESGR "bosslift" at Camp Atterbury, Ind June 29, 2011.

“Knowing that they’re going overseas, that’s a really big honor just to come up and get to be able to see John and see what he’s doing, see what they’re getting ready to go do over in Iraq,” said Robinson.

Lundy said it was good to see Robinson after being gone over a month already.

“It was no different than being at home,” he said.  “I gave him a big hug and everything.”

ESGR State Chairman Retired Maj. Gen. Bob Silverthorn worked with the Kentucky Army and Air National Guard leadership in order to make this event happen. He credits their support to ESGR to provide this unique opportunity to the Kentucky employers.

“It’s vital to the national defense that our Guard and Reserve Service members are supported at home by their civilian employers, said Silverthorn. “The purpose of the bosslift is to provide employers with a real world experience in the training, skills and leadership that their employees obtain through service in the Guard and Reserve.”

The civilian employers started their military day aboard a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130. They flew from Louisville, Ky., to Camp Atterbury where they were greeted by members of the 149th MEB.  The employers were bussed out to a training site to observe the 617th Military Police Company conducting base defense operations security at an entry control point and a live fire exercise.

Col. Scott Campbell, 149th MEB Commander, addressed the employers at the training site and thanked them for their support to the Guard.

“I’ve been a traditional Guardsman for more than 30 years,” he said.  “I know the challenges of having a military career and a civilian career.  Without your continued support, I could not be a success.”

The civilian employers also enjoyed a traditional military lunch menu of a Meals, Ready to Eat and witnessed the infantry Soldiers perform close quarters marksmanship with M-4 rifles.

Lt. Norman Norris of Louisville’s Department of Corrections got to visit co-worker Sgt.

Employers of Soldiers from the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade enjoy a Military Meal-Ready-to-Eat while visiting their citizen-soldier employees during the ESGR "boss lift" to Camp Atterbury, Ind June 29, 2011.

Edwin O’Bannon from the 1-149th.  Both admit the deployment can create scheduling conflicts for employers but Norris said O’Bannon has enough on his plate.

“There’s no questions asked, there’s not a general attitude of  ‘oh he’s gone again.’  No.  He’s not going to Disney World.  He’s not going to California.  He’s going to a war zone.”

Silverthorn was appreciative of the sacrifice the employers make as well as the troops and their Families.

“After 10 years of war, it can get difficult for these employers to continue to support their employee who has to deploy repeatedly,” he said. “We are so appreciative of their support to our guard and reserve, they’re great patriots.”

The 149th MEB will be deploying as a task force of more than 2,600 Soldiers from Kentucky, Utah, Virginia and Oregon to Iraq in Support of Operation New Dawn.  They will  perform base defense and convoy security operations in the largest single deployment the state has seen since World War II.

Please view some of the news media coverage this event has received:

LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER

http://www.kentucky.com/2011/07/04/1799041/kentucky-guard-unit-prepares-to.html#storylink=misearch

LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNAL

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20110629/NEWS01/306290082/Kentucky-guardsmen-prepare-close-U-S-chapter-Iraq?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Home  

LOCAL 12 – CINCINNATI

http://www.local12.com/news/state/story/Northern-Kentucky-Troops-To-Deploy-To-Iraq/oqijFPP3T0yMIOtdyRihZA.cspx

LEX18 – LEXINGTON, Ky.

http://www.lex18.com/news/largest-kentucky-guard-deployment-in-nearly-60-years/#!prettyPhoto/0/

ARMY TIMES

http://www.armytimes.com/news/2011/06/ap-kentucky-guardsmen-to-help-with-iraq-withdraw-063011/&ct=ga&cad=CAEQARgAIAAoATAAOABA-uCy8ARIAVgBYgJlbg&cd=ZAKL6D41uPM&usg=AFQjCNFH98RkZYZ5cexACpnKEgqrlfI2dQ

WAVE 3 – LOUISVILLE

http://www.wave3.com/story/15005218/kentucky-guardsmen-train-to-help-us-withdraw-from-iraq&ct=ga&cad=CAEQARgAIAAoATAAOABAvNKy8ARIAVgBYgJlbg&cd=cfONUk1fdZk&usg=AFQjCNHPXetbYm0iZSbV2IxT44OIMbHeFw

FOX 19 – CINCINNATI

http://www.fox19.com/story/15004814/ky-guardsmen-train-to-help-us-withdraw-from-iraq&ct=ga&cad=CAEQARgAIAAoATAAOABA5Mmy8ARIAVgBYgVlbi1VUw&cd=KUqQVBzH8qM&usg=AFQjCNG6ffYHyq5WFIEl5hPdr53NlSS65w

THE REPUBLIC – (AP STORY) – COLUMBUS, Ind.

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/cdfd29fb46db4bcaa39686f7672deb88/KY–Kentucky-Guardsmen/&ct=ga&cad=CAEQARgAIAAoATAAOABAosmy8ARIAVgBYgVlbi1VUw&cd=_Q4ACKKHcoU&usg=AFQjCNGitlZERqBN8tFgIooabKuegOm-FQ

WBKO – BOWLING GREEN, Ky.

http://www.wbko.com/news/headlines/Kentucky_National_Guard_Soldiers_to_be_Deplyed_to_Iraq__124817849.html&ct=ga&cad=CAEQARgAIAAoATAAOABAr_i28ARIAVAAWABiAmVu&cd=wVeczhSv3aQ&usg=AFQjCNELSENZW91rxQWY3JC8q-6vLybIcA

WSAZ – HUNTINGTON, Wv.

http://www.wsaz.com/news/headlines/Kentucky_Naitonal_Guard_Activated_124838769.html&ct=ga&cad=CAEQARgAIAAoATAAOABAy_K18ARIAVgBYgVlbi1VUw&cd=Cj1Iy4Y7KeQ&usg=AFQjCNFc-0wzGrWsy9EFXHb98qlijUcJnQ

FOX 41- LOUISVILLE

http://www.fox41.com/story/15008539/kentucky-national-guard-gears-up-for-historic-deployment&ct=ga&cad=CAEQARgAIAAoATAAOABAw-608ARIAVgBYgVlbi1VUw&cd=4MnLvsQELT8&usg=AFQjCNGOTb63qCMG-sanMMAw_AFA14eTLg

FOX 41 (Story #2) – LOUISVILLE

http://www.fox41.com/story/15006984/ky-national-guard-soldiers-prepare-to-deploy-to-iraq&ct=ga&cad=CAEQARgAIAAoATAAOABAqNaz8ARIAVAAWABiAmVu&cd=rqA-EzNF-e4&usg=AFQjCNEO41YGxmzYkboBoM2lv5apYImGXw

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-ky-kentuckyguardsmen,0,5991695.story&ct=ga&cad=CAEQARgAIAAoATAAOABAi5e08ARIAVAAWABiAmVu&cd=lQIEHSE5eLQ&usg=AFQjCNGO7LwRHOegCB0QTBwlHs8AKBpJtw

NPR WUKY – LEXINGTON, Ky.

http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wuky/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=1825257

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