Ariz. Guardsmen thank civilian employers

Ariz. Guardsmen thank civilian employers

Arizona Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopters carrying civilian employers of Arizona Guardsmen return to Papago Park Military Reservation Mar. 10 from a flight to show them the Guard experience.

PHOENIX— Civilian employers of Guardsmen from across the state were recognized at Papago Park Military Reservation Mar. 10 for their unwavering support of Arizona’s citizen Soldiers.


Soldiers from a wide range of backgrounds came together with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to show 40 employers some of the Guard’s capabilities and mission sets. The visit was highlighted by a boss lift in which civilian employers experienced a flight on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.


Brig. Gen. John Hoefert, the land component commander of the Arizona Army National Guard, welcomed the employers and wanted to convey his thanks for their support of the Guard.


“With out your help, there is no way we can have our Soldiers step out of your formation and fall in to [the Guard’s] formation when their state or nation calls,” Hoefort said.


The employers received briefings from the AZARNG Leadership as well as visited with Soldiers who displayed some of their equipment at the Army Aviation Support Facility here.


Among those in attendance were 2nd Lt. Tim Zellers and his civilian supervisor Mark Mansir, director of inside sales for FedEx. 


“I knew [Mark] had served in the Army as a helicopter pilot, so taking him up in a Blackhawk would be right up his alley and give him some exposure to what I do,” said Zellers, a chaplain candidate with the 1120th Transportation Battalion.


This truly was a special visit for Mansir, a former attack aviation and instructor pilot who trained at Fort Rucker, Ala., and the very same training base where helicopter pilots in the Arizona Army National Guard receive their training.


“Being prior military, I understand the hardships and sacrifices he makes in the National Guard, so I’m fully supportive,” Mansir said. “Even our CEO, Fred Smith, was a Marine and he credits his service for his leadership and business acumen; it starts from the top.”


Part of setting that tone in a work place comes from a guardsman communicating to his or her employer their needs to be a successful Soldier and employee.


“Have an open conversation and dialogue with your employer – you want to give them as much advance notice as possible for drill weekends and other training events,” Zeller said.


Mansir and the rest of the employers also got to try on some of the equipment Arizona Guardsmen use on drill weekends.


“Today was great; it went by so fast seeing all the equipment. I got to try on a bomb suit, which was pretty cool, and although I flew helicopters and was an instructor pilot, I had never flown in a Blackhawk. It was pretty fun seeing everyone enjoying their first flight,” Mansir said.


It took a collaborative effort from commanders, staff, Soldiers and civilians to host these employers – a real community effort.



“You can’t have a community with just yourself. You need others there with you to support you,” Hoefert said. “Together, you as employers and us as a National Guard depend on each other and together we make a strong community.”