News: CNA Insurance Co employee deploys to support Operation Enduring Freedom
by Lt. Col. Martin Moerschell
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Forward
BAHRAIN -- U.S. Navy reservist Lt Thomas Ritter, an employee of Continental National American Insurance Company in Chicago, is currently deployed to Naval Central Command Headquarters in Bahrain in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the official name given to military operations from Afghanistan to the Horn of Africa in support of the Global War on Terror.
"Being away from my home and family has to be the single most difficult part of being deployed," Ritter said. In spite of these challenges, however, Ritter said that being part of Operation Enduring Freedom makes up for many of the hardships he encounters.
Active duty and reserve component members from all branches of the U.S. armed forces are deployed under the U.S. Central Command to support the war against global terrorism outside the borders of the United States.
U.S. Central Command is the unified command responsible for U.S. security interests and assets in 27 nations stretching from the Horn of Africa, through the Arabian Gulf region, and into Central Asia.
At Naval Central Command, Ritter serves as the Assistant Operations Officer where he is in charge of scheduling all military Sealift Commands' special mission and cargo assets throughout Central Command's area of operations. The Lt. has served in the military for eight years, and this is his first deployment as a reservist in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
In his civilian occupation, Ritter is a risk control specialist for Continental National American (CNA) Insurance Co., headquartered in Chicago, where he has been employed for the past four years.
"My employer has been very supportive during this deployment by matching my salary so I don't have a reduction in pay while on active duty, sending several care packages and keeping my benefits going. I look forward to returning to CNA Insurance when my deployment is finished," said Ritter.
Today, more than 1.2 million members of the National Guard and Reserve continue to perform an increasing number of unique missions that require extraordinary actions on the part of everyday citizens.
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is the primary resource for information about the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, commonly known as USERRA. This federal law allows Ritter and other mobilized reserve component members to retain their rights, when the deployment concludes.
Established in 1972, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a DoD agency, provides free USERRA education, consultation, and if necessary, mediation for employers of Guard and Reserve employees.
The mission of ESGR is to gain and maintain active support from all public and private employers for the men and women of the National Guard and Reserve. More information about ESGR Employer Outreach Programs and volunteer opportunities is available at www.esgr.mil, or by calling the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve at (800) 336-4590.
"My family has been a strong source of comfort to me while I have been deployed overseas and I would not have been able to do any of this if it wasn't for their love and support," said Ritter.
Ritter, who calls Denville, N.J. his home, is the proud son of Judie Ritter from New Port Richey, Fla. He is married to the former Kristen Taylor. They have been married for six years.