by Senior Master Sgt. Darenda Rogers
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Forward Team
IRAQ -- South Carolina Army National Guard 1st Lt. William Banning, a sales representative with MetLife Financial Services in West Columbia, S.C., is currently deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the official name given to military operations assisting in rebuilding Iraq's economic and governmental infrastructure, training and preparing Iraqi military and security forces to assume full authority and responsibility in defending and preserving Iraq's sovereignty and independence as a democracy.
According to Banning, the hardest part of this deployment was leaving his new bride the day after they were married. In spite of these challenges, however, Banning said that being part of Operation Iraqi Freedom helps to make up for any hardships that he may encounter.
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.
In Iraq, Banning serves as a trailblazer platoon leader. He is responsible for organizing platoons into teams so they can run route-clearance missions each day and night. The team is responsible for briefing others on changes in the roads in their area of operation and clearing improvised explosive devices from those areas. The first lieutenant has served in the military for 11 years; this is his first deployment overseas.
Banning, employed by MetLife Financial Services as a sales representative for the last four years, works out of West Columbia, S.C. He is responsible for the sales of insurance and securities. "MetLife was totally supportive of my deployment," Banning stated. He indicated that he is grateful for such support. He also pointed out, "Since being deployed, co-workers offered help to my wife countless times."
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 Banning 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.
"From this experience, I will bring organizational skills back to my employer," said Banning. Although Banning is proud to serve his country, he is looking forward to returning to his wife and job with MetLife Financial Services.
Banning and his wife call Florence, S.C. home.
|Date Posted:||07.21.2006 13:44|
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