Leaders pledge support to Guard, Reserve employers
By Gerry J. Gilmore, American Forces Press Service
/ Published November 15, 2009
October 18, 2009 -- The Pentagon's top civilian official for Guard and Reserve matters and uniformed reserve-component leaders pledged to support employers of the nation's Guard and Reserve members at a Pentagon ceremony today.
Dennis M. McCarthy, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, was the first official to sign the statement of support sponsored by the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, also participating in the signing.
ESGR is a Defense Department agency that seeks to foster good communications and working relationships between Guard and Reserve members and their civilian employers. That relationship is delineated by the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act, which, among other things, stipulates that Guard and Reserve members are to be returned to their civilian jobs after being away to perform stints of military service.
Civilian employers sign statements of support to demonstrate their awareness and support of the law and to pledge assistance to employees in the Guard and Reserve and to their families.
"We traditionally ask employers to sign these kinds of certificates, but it's really important that [reserve-component] service chiefs representing the military leadership express their support as well," McCarthy said at the ceremony's conclusion. "It's clearly a mutually supporting relationship that we need, and so this signing reflects that."
Employers of Guard and Reserve servicemembers make significant contributions to reserve-component readiness, recruiting and retention missions, said Pauline K. Brunelli, ESGR's acting executive director.
"We're very pleased to show this statement of support and all the members behind it," Brunelli said. The signing ceremony, she said, featured participation by senior military leaders primarily involved in reserve-component issues.
Navy Vice Adm. Dirk J. Debbink, chief of the Navy Reserve, hosted the ceremony. Gaining employers' understanding and assistance "makes a big difference," he said.
Additionally, Debbink said, reserve-component members should strive to maintain good communications with their civilian employers so that effective arrangements can be made to provide workplace replacements while they are deployed on military duty.
Communication "is absolutely the key," he said. Reserve-component members, he said, should keep employers current on upcoming deployments and other military duties.