The Morning News â€” Bob Hudson
Nate Satterthwaite of Blackfoot talks with Spec. Johannes Ladman about the Apache helicopter during the ESGR Bosslift at Gowen Field last Wednesday.
BOISE â€” A small group of two-day soldiers moves quickly across an open field.
Five men stack up against one another upon reaching the door of a small two-story building. On a hand signal, their leader pushes the door open and the men fan into the room, weapons at the ready.
Moments later they are engaged in a firefight, battling one "bad guy."
Dale Ewerson, president of the Hailey Chamber of Commerce, is one of the five men who tried to clear the building and neutralize the bad guy after five minutes of training.
"That has to be perfectly synchronized or someone is in trouble," Ewerson observes.
In real life, soldiers involved in Mobilization Operations and Urban Training (MOUT), would spend several weeks training for such an action. tOne of the sergeants teaching during the Employers Support of Guard and Reserve (ESGR) event at Gowen Field on Tuesday and Wednesday provides that information.
"I've seen extremely specialized training; that's what impresses me," Ewerson said.
Bosslift is an annual event which provides employers and community leaders to see the type of training Idaho National Guardsmen in the Army and Air Force and reservists in the Navy and Marine Corps do to prepare for war.
Over about 12 hours the employers from around the state get to participate in MOUT, use a simulator which teaches about convoy operations and then ride in a convoy, eyes searching for simulated Improvised Exposive Devices (IEDs). They also get to use the A-10 simulator, which enables airmen to train on flying the Air Guard's Warthog aircraft for several hours before flying it solo.
They also get a ride around the Boise Valley in a Blackhawk helicopter while the pilots renew their perishable skills.
During the briefing before the helicopter flight, Lt. Col. Doug Smith, the commander of the state's Army aviation facility, notes, "ever since 911 we've been asking a lot of soldiers, a lot of their families and a lot of employers."
ESGR is designed to ask employers to go beyond their legal obligations when dealing with the citizen soldiers in their companies.
"You get an idea of the rigors of the training that's happening," notes Nathan Satterthwaite, the human resources director for Bingham County.
On Tuesday night the state ESGR committee presented several awards to individuals and companies who've gone beyond the letter of the law in the past year. Simplot, Peak Communications, Cable One and Snake River Harley-Davison received those awards.
Major General Kenny Sayler, the adjustant general of the Idaho National Guard, told those at the awards banquet, "we could not do our job in the Guard and Reserve without the support of the employer."
Richard Pimentel, the keynote speaker, defined responsibility for those assembled.
"Responsibility isn't doing what you're told," he said. "It's the ability to respond and your response-ability."
Pimentel, a disabled Vietnam veteran, has long been an advocate of the disabled. He noted that 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan have created over 500,000 disabled veterans. He encouraged the employers to hire these men and women whenever possible.
"Ask yourselves, 'what will your company accomplish with their help and what will they accomplish with yours," Pimentel said.
"You have the ability to make a difference," he said. "Our government will bring these people back, but only you can bring them home."
While members of the 116th Combat Brigade Team â€” the Idaho, Montana and Oregon Guardsmen serving in Iraq â€” haven't suffered disabling injuries, many will need employment help when they return home.
"I see it as a big picture," said Satterthwaite. "We're all one big team. We need to continue to support all of them, regardless of where they're from."