The 512th Airlift Wing recognizes civilian employers

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kalee Sexton
  • 512th Airlift Wing

The 512th Airlift Wing, working with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, invited civilian employers to the June Unit Training Assembly at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, to get a glimpse of what reserve Citizen Airmen do in their military capacity.

The day started with a welcome briefing from 512th AW Commander Col. Douglas Stouffer, who gave a brief history of the base and described the overall mission of the wing.

Lt. Col. Jason Pennypacker, 512th Operations Group commander, touted the professionalism of the wing and thanked employers for allowing the reservists to be part of something bigger than themselves.

“We ask these Airmen to work miracles in 16 hours every month, and they always deliver,” he said.

Lt. Col. Jerome Rogers, 512th Maintenance Group commander, and 512th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Commander Col. Zoë Hawes echoed that message, explaining how traditional reservists are held to high standards and are expected to maintain technical proficiency in jobs they only perform for two days per month.  

Stouffer, along with Col. Crystal Beach, 512th Mission Support Group commander, emphasized the need for reservists to maintain balance in their lives—something civilian employers play a key role in.

“There’s a lot of give and take when it comes to the Air Force Reserve,” Stouffer said. “You make a sacrifice when I take your employee, but your support allows our members to complete the mission.”

Guests saw several videos that showcased some of the duties their reserve Citizen Airmen have been involved in, including heavy weapons training and offsite training designed to prepare service members to perform in austere environments.

After spending some time in their respective Airman’s work centers to learn about their individual jobs, guests attended a lunch where they heard from retired Col. Gene Hebert, who used to serve as a group commander for the 512th AW, about how the ESGR works to enhance employer support for military service in the Guard and Reserve.

The Delaware ESGR Committee then presented each employer with a certificate of appreciation. Three employers also received a Patriot Award, which recognizes individual supervisors for going above and beyond in supporting employees’ military duties.

To end the day, guests boarded a C-17 Globemaster III for an orientation flight around the region, where they experienced a variety of training maneuvers, including low-level flying.

“I think the benefit of inviting civilian employers here is that it gives them a better perspective on what we’re doing in our military capacity,” said Lt. Col. Brian Moritz, 326th Airlift Squadron commander who also flies for United Airlines. “Overall, I think all the employers, including mine, really appreciated being recognized for the efforts they make to support us.”

Tech. Sgt. Susanna “Sue” Lawson, non-commissioned officer in charge of staff development for the 512th ADMS, nominated her supervisor Patricia Isherwood for a Patriot Award.

Isherwood, senior manager for oncology operations at Bayhealth hospitals in Delaware where Lawson works as a hematology, oncology nurse practitioner, said she feels like the least she can do is support her Airman every way she can.

“Today has given me more in-depth knowledge of what Sue does outside of Bayhealth, and it’s given me a deeper appreciation for those who serve,” said Isherwood. “Winning the Patriot Award caught me by surprise. If I can support the military from the outside, it makes me feel like I am contributing to the overall success of what our Citizen Airmen are trying to achieve.”