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Fourth Combat Camera thanks employers, honors deploying members

  • Published
  • By Maj. Michiko Riley
  • 4th Combat Camera Squadron
Airmen assigned to the 4th Combat Camera Squadron (CTCS) hosted a squadron BBQ for their bosses Feb. 20, 2010 at their building on March Field. Their mission: give props to employers supporting deploying Citizen Airmen.

"Members of the 4th Combat Camera squadron are preparing to deploy," said Lt. Col. Bruce Bender, Commander. "This is our way of recognizing the Airmen deploying to the Middle East and the employers who provide constant support to our citizen Airmen along the way."

Captain Evert Wells, officer in charge of the deploying team, believes the event also provides opportunities for Airmen to highlight their military duties to employers.

"The idea of taking pictures in the military does not easily translate for civilians," said Capt. Wells. "I got to show exactly what it is that we do in combat camera and how it relates to national security."

Capt. Wells, an employee of Ventura Foods, Brea, Calif., invited his supervisor Nigel Churton, and manager, Tom Rochester to the BBQ.

"I was excited to go onto the Air Force base and meet Evert's commanding officer and the other members of his team," said Mr. Churton. "I appreciated the opportunity to take part in the deployment BBQ."

Mr. Churton, a former member of the New Zealand Royal Air Force knows first-hand the difficulty of balancing Reservists' military commitments with their civilian employment.

"The biggest challenges include working around the set times each month the Reservist must complete," said Mr. Churton. "Knowing that we have to have a contingency plan for coverage if the Reservist is pulled into active duty is also challenging."

"I intend to work with the company's HR (human resources) manager to create a more robust military leave policy," said Capt. Wells. "I want to help increase their participation with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR)." The Defense Department's ESGR helps Airmen like Wells develop and promote a culture in which all American employers support and value the military service of their employees.

ESGR volunteer and former 452nd Logistics Group Commander, March Field, Calif., retired Colonel John Columbine, attended the BBQ and presented the Patriot Award certificates of appreciation and lapel pins to both employers.

"The Patriot Award recognizes the businesses for doing the right thing," said Col. Columbine. "They (Churton and Rochester) are very supportive of their employees, of the Reserve. I hope they will continue to support future employees that are part of the Reserve."

ESGR services are available to all members of the military. For more information, service members may contact an ESGR representative at 1-800-336-4950.

"Supporting the U.S. Defense Department is important," said Mr. Rochester. "I support the growth and desires of our employees who feel empowered to serve."

Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., Chief, Air Force Reserve Command, considers preserving the Reserve triad - military commitment, family and civilian job one of his top three priorities.

"That gives us maximum flexibility in delivering any capability that we have that is required around the world for the warfigher," said Gen. Stenner. "We're all in, every day, day in and day out as part of the three-component Air Force."

Fourth CTCS is responsible for documentation of military operations, exercises and humanitarian relief efforts around the world. As a unique, combatant-command force capability, they often deploy in combat-laden areas of operation.

"The support that our unit provides to the Reserve triad as this team goes out the door is vital," said Lt. Col. Bender. "It helps our reservists maintain a laser focus as they acquire imagery to meet the commander's strategic objectives."

"I am a supporter of any military person, whether regular or Reservist," said Mr. Churton. "I believe anyone who signs up in the current world climate for military duty is to be commended, especially when they have to juggle work (civilian), home and duty."