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For families and employers, National Guard training is first measured in the amount of time their service member will be away, and anticipation of their return.

The Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment in Madison, Wisconsin, as well as other Army aviation units in West Bend, dedicated a day to show families and employers what their service member does while in uniform.

“We know the mission comes first, and I briefed that to the families,” said Lt. Col. Max Brosig, commander of the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation. “But we’ve got to take a time out to ensure the families know that they are truly first.

“It [also] gave those bosses and the ESGR community better insight into the commitment and sacrifice their employee – our aviation crew member – have to make as part of the aviation community,” he continued. “It provides that employer a sense of accomplishment that they play a larger role in the defense of our country.”

Roughly 4,000 communities across the nation – more than 70 in Wisconsin alone – host some kind of reserve component unit. Retired Brig. Gen. Scott Legwold, speaking on behalf of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, noted that reserve component units maintain high standards of readiness for a fraction of the cost of active duty units.

“The proficiency of these units is equal to, if not greater than, their active component units in many cases,” Legwold said. “You’re going to see that professionalism displayed here today. Of the more than 1 million men and women in the Army, more than half are reserve component. They can’t do their job without your support.”

Brosig told the employers gathered in Madison for a breakfast that he misunderstood the National Guard back when he was in the active Army.

“Then in 2003 I came to the National Guard, and I am amazed every day at what your employees can do with a limited budget and limited time,” Brosig said. “They do a lot of things on a shoestring budget and they do a lot of things they don’t get paid for. Their families make huge sacrifices.

“No matter what they do, they could not be as proficient as they are if you did not support them.”

For Chad Green, business and family go hand in hand. Chief Warrant Officer Jesse Green is a co-owner of Water Source Heating and Cooling in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

“We’re a small company, so [when Jesse is here on duty as a pilot] it impacts us quite a bit,” Green said. “There’s nobody to fill his shoes, really.”

Green said he learned a lot from the morning’s briefings, base tour and orientation flight aboard a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

“As a business, we have to make sacrifices but it’s nothing compared to what [Jesse’s] family has to go through,” Green said.

Brosig said that the event also strengthened the family bonds between Army aviation units in Wisconsin. While most of the subordinate units of the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment are in Madison – one company and part of a second are located out of state – West Bend hosts seven separate, smaller units whose higher headquarters are all stationed outside of Wisconsin. The 147th now provides administrative oversight and support for the West Bend units.

“The aviation community is so small in general,” Brosig explained. “Now that we’re all under one umbrella, it gives us the opportunity to capitalize on the experience of all the units. We’ve started working more collectively – training, exercises, a lot of collaboration and best practices.”

And family day, as well.