Thursday, January 5, 2012
Wicker thanks civilian employers of today’s citizen soldiers
Since our nation’s earliest days, citizen soldiers have played a critical role in all of America’s wars. As the American forces in Baghdad transferred control to the Iraqi government last month, 16 Mississippi National Guard members were among those remaining in the country. Guard and Reserve units have contributed heavily to the success achieved by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Today, there are nearly 10,000 soldiers in the Mississippi National Guard. Often, their civilian service is overlooked. Citizen soldiers in the National Guard and Reserve with jobs stateside represent nearly half of America’s available military manpower. Employer support is essential to ensuring that our current Armed Forces can accomplish missions here at home and around the globe, and a Department of Defense agency is honoring employers who make the extra step to help those who serve.
Employers Play Key Role for Reservists
For more than 30 years, America has relied on a smaller, all-volunteer military, supplemented as needed by members of the National Guard and Reserve. This Total Force Policy allows the United States the flexibility to respond quickly to changing threats or needs. For this policy to work effectively, employers must be open to hiring, retaining, and promoting these citizen soldiers while also enabling them to serve.
Employers can benefit from employing men and women of the Guard and Reserve. In addition to their contributions to our military, members of the Guard and Reserve gain leadership experience and skills honed in difficult environments. They then bring these abilities back to their civilian roles, making them exceptional employees.
To recognize the contributions of employers to members of the Guard and Reserve, the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, an agency within the Department of Defense, annually gives the Secretary’s Employer Support Freedom Award. It is the federal government’s highest employer honor and has been awarded to 145 deserving small, medium, and large businesses across the country. Mississippi is long overdue for an award winner.
Nominations for the 2012 award are being accepted now and can be submitted by service members or a family member acting on a service member’s behalf. The deadline for nominations is January 16, 2012. To nominate an employer or to learn more about the award, visit www.FreedomAward.mil.
Mississippi’s Important Tradition
Dating back to George Washington’s time, America has always depended on citizens joining an effort when needed. From minutemen to their modern counterparts in the Guard and Reserve, this rich tradition makes our country stronger.
Mississippi’s long history of patriotic service continues through our Guard and Reserve units. These members bravely answer the call to fight the Global War on Terror and help on the home front when natural disasters strike. They are our friends, neighbors, and relatives who have made tremendous sacrifices often requiring them to leave jobs and loved ones to serve.
The dedication of our service members is critical to accomplishing a variety of missions that face our military and nation today, and employers are an important part of this equation. As we thank members of our National Guard and Reserve, we should also thank the employers who stand behind them, for there are many ways to serve.
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