Bosslift Gives Employers Up Close Look at New York Guard Published Aug. 18, 2023 By Staff Sgt. Daniel Farrell, 106th Rescue Wing/Public Affairs WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. - The New York Air National Guard 106th Rescue Wing opened its doors and cockpits Aug. 5 to civilian employers of wing members for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Forty-eight civilian employers of Guardsmen toured the base and flew on an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter or an HC-130J Combat King II search and rescue aircraft as part of “Bosslift,” an Employee Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) program. “It’s an opportunity to give the employers of the members a bird’s-eye view of what their drill status Guardsmen do when they are not at their civilian jobs,” said Lisa D’Agostino, ESGR outreach coordinator and 106th Rescue Wing Airman and Family Readiness program manager. “I hope they leave here with a greater understanding of how much it takes to get the job done at the base.” The bird’s-eye view was taken quite literally as employers took flight around the eastern end of Long Island. They also toured the 103rd Pararescue Squadron of the 106th Rescue Wing and the vast array of tactical equipment such as parachutes, all-terrain vehicles, jet skis, Zodiak inflatable rafts and diving equipment. The feedback from the employers and Airmen was overwhelmingly positive. “He’s never been on a base before. Just seeing the aircraft, seeing all the different equipment the PJs had. …My boss said that he will never forget that for the rest of his life,” said Master Sgt. Matthew Haynes, a 106th religious affairs specialist and a full-time machine operator with the Long Island Railroad. “Sometimes when we go drill, it’s like [civilian employers] know we are going away for a weekend, but they have no clue what we actually do,” Haynes said. “They think the active-duty is the ‘real military.’ They don’t realize the National Guard is identical to active-duty; it’s just part-time.” It wasn’t only an opportunity for the members to showcase what they do; it doubled as valuable flying hours for the aircrew. The flight to Montauk and back provided the aircrew with valuable flight hours toward completion of the wing’s annual Flying Hours Program, said Lt. Col. Matthew Forbes, 101st Rescue Squadron commander. “It’s an experience that you can give your employer that they would never in a million years be able to do,” Haynes said. Guests left with a greater understanding of what it means to serve in the Air National Guard. The look at 106th operations was great, said Kris Bittner, a supervisor on the Long Island Railroad and a Marine Corps veteran. “I have flown a lot in the Corps but never on a C-130. I can tell you that it was amazing,” Bittner said. “As for the servicemember that is assigned to me at the LIRR, I completely understand his mission. Thank you so much for the opportunity to experience the Air Guard, to see how the Air Force conducts their business and for the outstanding C-130 flight.” The 106th Rescue Wing, based at F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach, operates and maintains the HC-130J Combat King II search and rescue aircraft and the HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter. The 106th RQW is home to a special warfare squadron with pararescuemen and combat rescue officers specializing in rescue and recovery. It deploys for domestic and overseas operations.