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Rumsfeld Thanks Reserve Component Employers

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2003 – In an open letter to employers, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld thanked them for their continued support of their National Guard and Reserve employees called to active duty to support the global war on terrorism.

In the letter, mailed Sept. 29, Rumsfeld said the ongoing global war on terrorism -- for which the Defense Department has mobilized more than 295,000 members of the reserve components since Sept. 11, 2001 -- "would not have been possible without the strong backing of America's employers."

The letters were sent to the directors of major employer associations and organizations and of government agencies. They, in turn, were asked to distribute the letters to their members.

Their Reserve and Guard employees, Rumsfeld told the employers, "have been engaged in and around the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as providing security here at home and in other critical locations around the world."

Rumsfeld thanked the employers for "swiftly releasing your valuable employees for military service" and "welcoming back these returning warriors and reinstating them in their jobs."

He noted that during their workers' mobilizations, many employers "did more than was required by law by voluntarily offering continued benefits, pay differentials, and additional, creative forms of family support which made the period of separation so much easier to bear.

"I know of no other time in our nation's history when so many employers have voluntarily offered this level of support and benefits," he wrote.

Noting that those actions have not been without sacrifice, Rumsfeld expressed "the deepest appreciation of this Department and the United States government for your unswerving support of our nation's military.

"Without this continued support, we could not maintain a strong military or sustain the current effort to overcome the international terrorist threat directed at our country, our citizens, and all who love freedom," Rumsfeld continued.

"You have my deepest thanks," he concluded. "Your direct contributions and support are another illustration of America's greatness as a nation."

In a related event, the National Committee of Employer Support today announced four companies for its Home Front Awards. These awards, established in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, recognize businesses that are leaders in sponsoring initiatives to support their Guard and Reserve employees called to active duty, including providing for their families while they are mobilized.

Winners of this year's Home Front Awards are The Home Depot and Clear Channel Airports, based in Atlanta; Albertson's, based in Boise, Idaho; and Verizon Communications, based in New York.

This year's winners will receive their awards Nov. 14 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce here in conjunction with the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Awards.

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