Recognize supportive bosses with Employer Support of Guard and Reserve awards

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs

At times, it can be a real challenge to juggle all the requirements of being a reservist: balancing military duties, supporting family and meeting the requirements of a full-time job. So, when a reservist does have an employer who is supportive of them serving their nation, there are ways to recognize and thank those great bosses.


Through the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve there are several awards for which reservists can nominate their employers. These awards recognize civilian bosses for supportive employment policies and practices of Reserve and National Guard members.

ESGR is a Department of Defense organization established to recognize outstanding employer support, increase awareness of the law, and resolve conflicts between reservists and employers through mediation, according to ESGR.

The Reserve and National Guard forces comprise approximately 48 percent of the nation's total available military manpower. These volunteers can spend much more time away from the workplace defending the nation, which means employer support plays a role in mission accomplishment though enhanced retention rates in the services, which can strengthen national security, according to ESGR.

“It’s important that we recognize these employers who have been supportive of their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve,” said James Garner, Mississippi ESGR Vice Chair, South. “So, we encourage Guard and Reserve members to recognize these supervisors and bosses who support them and their military service by nominating these employers for ESGR awards.”

Employer awards include:

· The Patriot and Spouse Patriot Awards are the first in a series of ESGR awards. ESGR awards this certificate and a Patriot lapel pin on behalf of the DoD to all employers nominated by a National Guard and Reserve member. Spouses of a Guard or Reserve member may also nominate individual supervisors or bosses for support provided directly to the nominating service member or his family.

· The Seven Seals Award recognizes significant individual or organizational achievements or initiatives that support and promote the ESGR mission. This award is presented at the discretion of the State Chair or by ESGR Senior leadership.

· The Above and Beyond Award is presented by ESGR State Committees to recognize employers at the state and local level who have gone above the legal requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) by providing Guard and Reserve employees benefits such as differential or full pay to offset lost wages and extended health and other benefits.

· The Pro Patria Award is presented to those employers who demonstrate exceptional support for national defense by adopting personnel policies that make it easier for employees to participate in the National Guard and Reserve.

· The Extraordinary Employer Support Award recognizes continued employer support of the National Guard and Reserve Service. Only employers who have previously received the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award or the Pro-Patria Award and have demonstrated sustained support for three years after receiving one of those awards are eligible for consideration for this recognition.

. The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award is the U.S. Government's highest recognition given to employers for their support of Guard and Reserve service. Nominations are ongoing and due by Dec. 31.

Reservists can nominate employers for an award by visiting For more information, visit

More information about ESGR outreach programs and volunteer opportunities are available on the Mississippi ESGR website at