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News Release


Release No: 757-00
December 19, 2000


The Department of Defense signed a statement of support with National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU) leaders today in which NAFCU pledged its support and strongly encouraged all of its member credit unions to support the National Guard and Reserve.

NAFCU becomes another key corporate leadership group to sign the pledge, promising not to deny employment or limit career opportunities because of service in the Guard and Reserve, and to grant leave of absences for military training without sacrificing vacation.

The statement also demonstrates NAFCU recognition that the National Guard and Reserve are essential to the strength of our nation and the well being of our communities.

"We are very pleased that such an important association as NAFCU can make this commitment," said Charles L. Cragin, principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, who represented DoD. "It energizes the Department's efforts to improve communications and access between employers, local commanders and Reserve force members."

"Credit unions have long helped Americans achieve their goals through voluntary cooperation, so it is fitting that today we pledge our support for the millions of men and women who volunteer in the National Guard and Reserve," said Fred R. Becker Jr., NAFCU president and CEO. "NAFCU appreciates the many sacrifices reservists make on behalf of our country, and we encourage all credit unions to accommodate their employees' participation in Guard and Reserve training programs."

The 1.3 million men and women who serve in the seven Reserve components - Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Naval Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard - represent one half of our nation's total military might.

Today, they contribute 13 million duty days to active component missions and exercises around the world, equivalent to adding nearly 35,000 personnel to the active force. The Department of Defense cannot sustain operations anywhere in the world today without calling on the National Guard and Reserve.

Defense officials consider employer support to be such an important priority that special efforts are continuously made to ensure that military commanders are cooperating with employers of Reserve force members.

"From my talks with employers, I have concluded that the most important things that military commanders can do to help is, first, ensure that the employers are informed well in advance of the reservist-employee's departure for military duty and when they will return to work," said Cragin. "The second thing that commanders can do is make certain that the employer is given a set of orders well in advance of the military mission."

The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an agency of the Department of Defense, oversees the Statement of Support program among others. ESGR's mission is to minimize conflicts between part-time military duties and full-time civilian career responsibilities. ESGR accomplishes this through a network of 4,500 volunteers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands, plus a small full-time national staff.

For more information, please call Army National Guard Col. Terry Jones at (703) 693-8617. To learn more about ESGR, visit their Web site at http://www.esgr.org .

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