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Boss Lift showcases Air National Guard mission to employers

Two American Transmission Co. leaders were among several employers of Minnesota National Guard airmen who participated in the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Boss Lift held recently at the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minn.

Duane Schoon, ATC director of real time operations, and Kristie Erickson, ATC manager, system control, were nominated to participate by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. and ATC System Control Operator Chace Parask, who has served in the U.S. Military for 24 years.

The ESGR is a Department of Defense program that aims to promote a culture in which employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the U.S. National Guard and Reserve. Through the Boss Lift program, employers are transported, via military vehicle, aircraft or vessel, to military facilities where they observe Guard and Reserve members on duty.

Schoon and Erickson arrived at the wing in Duluth early on Sept. 13 and received a briefing about the 148th Fighter Wing provided by the public affairs officer and the unit executive officer. The morning also included a safety brief by a pilot from the 128th Air Refueling Wing from Milwaukee. The employers would ride in a Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft that flew up from Milwaukee the night before for the refueling exercise.

“We also had a tour of the fighter wing’s maintenance hangar before we boarded the tanker for the refueling exercise,” Schoon said. “There was a 3-to-4-hour weather delay, but we finally were able to take off around 1 p.m. The approximate 2-hour flight was an exercise to practice refueling the F-16 fighter jets from 148th Fighter Wing.”

Schoon said he was impressed with the professionalism and the sense of mission Parask and his unit displayed. “They are, for very good reasons, very proud of their mission, their service, and their accomplishments. I was also reminded of the sacrifices the service members like Chace and their families make to protect our country,” he said.

Erickson said she enjoyed seeing Chace in his element and speaking with those he works with on the base. “Many people shared how much they like working with Chace. They reaffirmed the enthusiasm and commitment Chace brings to our team here at ATC.”

She is proud of ATC’s commitment to supporting military members. “Numerous people thanked Duane and myself that day for supporting Chace in his reserve duties and when he was deployed for a year, but the real thanks goes to ATC for giving us the resources to support that commitment.”