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DoD Honors Employer Support for Reserve-Component Members

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2002 – Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz honored four companies who sacrificed the bottom line to allow reserve-component service members to serve their country.

Wolfowitz also honored Wyoming for allowing its employees to meet the Minutemen's call following the attacks in New York and Washington.

The five groups received Secretary of Defense Freedom Awards during a ceremony at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Nov. 8.

The deputy said United Parcel Service of Kentucky; General Dynamics Land Systems of Michigan; Public Service of New Hampshire; Autoliv, Inc of Utah; and the State of Wyoming helped reserve-component service members serve their country "because it is the right thing to do."

He said these organizations are examples of employers who support reserve-component members in their call to serve. "Hundreds of employers have extended continued medical care, made up salary differences, established support mechanisms for families, and taken extraordinary steps to show support," Wolfowitz said.

He said these organizations' support for the reserve components shows the best of America. These organizations, and many others like them around the United States, appreciate the sacrifices reserve-component service members make to serve their country, Wolfowitz said. The companies, by their support of those service members, help share some of the burden of national defense.

"(The) support back home proclaims that America is a land where dreams are large, where hearts hunger to build a better world, where ordinary people achieve extraordinary things," Wolfowitz said. "You are all freedom's builders."

Reserve-component service members have been in the thick of the action since Sept. 11, 2001. The day after the attacks, more than 6,000 Guardsmen and reservists answered the country's call, providing medical and technical assistance, securing the coasts, borders and airports, patrolling the streets, and flying combat air patrols to protect America's skies.

"Today, close to 58,000 service members from the reserve components are serving, and they're part of more than 98,000 men and women called from their civilian lives to active service since last September," Wolfowitz said.

In the global war on terrorism, reserve-component service members have been doing any number of jobs, including flying combat in Afghanistan, conducting vital and dangerous civil affairs missions, keeping the peace in Bosnia; providing logistics support in Kosovo, facing danger over Iraq in operations Northern and Southern Watch, protecting Patriot missile batteries in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and securing ports in the Middle East.

"In all these operations, we have seen truly remarkable achievements by our citizen soldiers -- men and women who willingly give up the comforts of home to answer their country's call," the deputy said. "And their service simply wouldn't be possible without the support they receive from their employers."

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