Virginia National Guard employers participate in Boss Lift at Langley AFB


Employers from companies such as RBC Bank, Comcast, Bank of America, HomeVestors, and many others arrive at Langley Air Force Base, Va., via a UH-60 Black Hawk for an ESGR Boss Lift July 12, 2012. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Meghan Skrepenski, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. — Civilian employers of Virginia National Guard members participated in a Boss Lift July 12, 2012 and traveled to Langley Air Force Base, Va., via a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The annual event, coordinated by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, provides an opportunity for employers to see the job Guard members do every time they are called to duty. Employers from companies such as RBC Bank, Comcast, HomeVestors and many others were represented. 

“It’s a great honor to participate, a once in a lifetime event for a civilian like me… it makes me feel very humble,” said Crystal Bridgforth, senior investing associate at RBC Wealth Management.

Without the support of the employers, getting citizen Soldiers and Airmen to juggle a civilian career with a commitment to the National Guard would be nearly impossible. 

Angie Wade, Airman and Family Readiness Programs Manager, explained the concept as a three-legged stool. The construct relies on all three parties – the Guard, their family and their employer – in order to function correctly. The Boss Lift is one of the tools the Guard uses to show employers first-hand just how important their support is to the Guardsmen, the state, and the nation.

“Our Guardsmen often receive thanks for their military service,” said Wade, “but today is a day where we get to thank the employers for their continued support. Because without it, we couldn’t get the job done.”

Employers were able to see the F-22 on static display and received a briefing on some of the highlights of the aircraft. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Meghan Skrepenski, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

It was a busy day for the Langley visitors. They touched down and kicked off the tour with a bus trip to the 149th Fighter Squadron. Lt. Col. Darren “Whip” Gray, assistant director of 149th FS Operations, delivered an informative brief on the F-22 capabilities- super cruise, stealth, integrated avionics, and maneuverability.

Next, the employers were able to see the F-22 on static display, up close and personal. Lt. Col. Steve “Bugs” Bunting, director of 149th FS Operations, walked the group around the jet, pointing out some of the highlights from the capability briefing among other things. 

While on the flight line, the group was able to witness a training exercise with a few F-22s and a T-38 Talon right overhead as they entered the traffic pattern and executed a couple low approaches.  

A Family Readiness and Employer Support brief was presented over lunch at the Club followed by a visit to the 158th Fighter Wing, a Vermont Air National Guard coastal alert wing. The wing flies F-16s, and the visitors were able to see them and learn about their capabilities as well. 

The last of the events at Langley was an informative brief on the critical, daily role Airmen have at the Intelligence Squadron delivered by Lt. Col. Mike Lovell, 192nd Intelligence Squadron commander .

“It’s great for the employer to be here to learn about the mission, to see the equipment, to understand that they bring that same level of excellence back to their jobs, and to understand what the employers can do by supporting the guardsmen,” said Wade. 

“I have a lot of guys come back and tell me what they do. Now I see it first-hand, I really appreciate it,” said Randy Cooper, technical operations supervisor at Comcast. Cooper has both Army and Air Guard members on his team.

To view photos from the event, visit: