Ham signs ESGR support statement; Stage honored for service

Ham signs ESGR support statement; Stage honored for service

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Association of the U.S. Army has signed a statement of support for employment rights of National Guard and Reserve soldiers and in doing so challenged its chapters as well as corporate and sustaining members to also sign statements supporting reserve components.

Retired Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, AUSA president and CEO, signed the document on behalf of the association in a brief ceremony with Paul E. Mock, who heads the Defense Department’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) program.

Retired Gen. Carter F. Ham, AUSA president, right, and Paul E. Mock, ESGR national chairman, show the signed statement of support for National Guard and Reserve employment rights. (AUSA News photo by Luc Dunn)

The ceremony held was held at AUSA’s Conference and Event Center in Arlington, Va.

Mock, who has been national chair of the program since 2013, said ESGR is a mostly volunteer group that promotes cooperation and understanding between the reserve components and civilian employers. About 45,000 businesses and organizations sign statements of support each year.

AUSA last signed a statement in 2014. Ham said it was “time for us to refresh our support and we are very, very glad to do that.” The National Guard and Reserve are “absolutely essential” to the Total Army, he said.

The statement of support recognizes the reserve components “are essential to the strength of our nation and the well-being of our communities.

“In the highest American tradition, the patriotic men and women of the Guard and Reserve serve voluntarily and in an honorable and vital profession.

“They train to respond to their community and their country in time of need. They deserve the support of every segment of our society.”

The statement includes four pledges: Support and comply with federal employment and re-employment rights for Guard and Reserve members; provide AUSA managers and supervisors the tools to manage Guard and Reserve employees; appreciate the leadership and skills Guard and Reserve soldiers bring to the workforce by encouraging employment opportunities; and continually recognize and support service members and their families.

Stage - Volunteer of the Year

One day prior to the signing ceremony, the president of the Association of the U.S. Army’s Sixth Region, Col. Richard “Phil” Stage, USA, Ret., was presented the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) National Volunteer of the Year Award for Military Outreach at ceremony at the Mark Center, Alexandria, Va.

Retired Col. Richard ‘Phil’ Stage, president of AUSA’s Sixth Region, center; Todd A. Weiler, assistant secretary of defense, manpower and reserve affairs, left; and Paul Mock, ESGR national chairman. (AUSA photo by Stan Crow)

Stage, who also ESGR Area Chairman, California Committee, and the U.S. Army Reserve Ambassador for California, was recognized for his outstanding support of the Total Army – Regular Army, Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve – in a multiple counties in the San Francisco Coastal Area.

His ESGR responsibilities included leading a team of over 20 volunteers who conducted briefings for reserve component units with approximately 9,000 guard and reservists in a 10-county area.

His teams also supported employers by presenting awards and briefings.

He is credited for briefing over 2,700 guard and reserve members in 2015 and also for facilitating over 150 employer and military outreach events annually.

The award was presented by Hon. Todd A. Weiler, assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs, and Paul E. Mock national chairman, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.